I remember during my elementary and high school days whenever we had our periodical tests, our teachers would go around the classroom and tell us “No copying!!!” Under the watchful eyes of our teachers, we relied on facts and figures they taught us for a certain period.
According to Paolo Friere, a Brazilain educator and philosopher, in his book entitled Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the banking concept of education has failed to instill critical thinking among students.
The teachers “deposit” data on their pupils’ minds only to “withdraw” them come examination time because the students successfully memorize the dates and places and characters but cannot relate to the historical significance of events.
But that is not my topic today. I believe we ought to “copy” or learn from our neighbors how they continue to deal with the global pandemic called COVID-19 which has logged 152,199,538 cases worldwide and resulted to 3,192,613 deaths and recovery to 89,931,151.
Worldwide, Indonesia placed 18th with 1,672,880 cases, 45,652 deaths and 1,526,978 recoveries. Indonesia has an estimated population of 275,708,705 this year while the Philippines is believed to have a population of 111,834,576. The Philippines is 26th 1,046,653 cases, 17,354 deaths and 957,051 recoveries.
Let us look at Vietnam. With an estimated population of 97,988,051 this year, it only had 2,942 cases which resulted to 35 deaths and the recovery of 2,548.
I’ve been asking friends about Vietnam’s case and was told it had focused on preventing, detecting, quarantine, localizing, containing and treating COVID-19 positive individuals. They also have what they call a centralized quarantine system and mass testing.
Their new Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, who was elected to the position less than a month ago, expressed hopes he can turn his country into ASEAN’s second largest economy in nine years.
Vietnam’s economy is also worth looking into because it achieved a 2.9% GDP growth despite the negative impact of COVID-19 in 2020. It had an average of 6.8% GDP growth prior to 2020.
It is only China and Vietnam which caught the multilaterals’ attention for the growth despite the headwinds brought by COVID-19.
Perhaps we can “copy” Vietnam’s formula because it has been said nobody’s safe until everyone’s safe and that once a country has contained the COVID-19 pandemic, it can start reopening its economy.
It will be recalled as early as 1986, the Philippines has relied on Vietnamese rice to complement our produce.
It may not necessarily be a “secret” but Vietnam, just like China, knows the significance long-term planning as well as consistency. Their leaders may change but the vision remains the same.
I believe learning from our neighbors would turn out to be the right step towards COVID-19 eradication and reopening the economy.