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Soldiers drafted into class

VIETNAM. A serious shortage of teaching staff in Vietnam has forced the country to take soldiers out of active service and deploy them in the classroom.

A recent report from the ministry of education and training shows there is a shortfall of around 100,000 teachers for Vietnam's elementary and secondary schools - amounting to about 20 per cent of teaching requirements.

More than half the country's schools are now operating a two-shift system whereby one group of pupils is taught in the morning and a different group in the afternoon.

Blame has been put on Vietnam's recent economic reforms, which have resulted in new private sector jobs offering higher wages and better working conditions.

This growing wealth has resulted in the opening of 70 private schools in Hanoi and other major cities. These charge much higher tuition fees than state schools and offer higher salaries.

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