by Hong Minh
The stabbing of a student at the Ha Noi University of Business and Technology last week raised concern in the educational community about whether schools were providing adequate security.
Architecture student Vu Ngoc Cuong, 20, was murdered by a group of four other students after they believed he gave them a "dirty look" - right inside his classroom.
Following the incident, young people filled social networks with condolences and messages condemning the suspects for their cruelty.
"It's terrifying to think that someone around you might be carrying a knife and you could be killed any time from just looking at them the wrong way," Tran Ngoc Anh, a student from the Ha Noi Foreign Trade University (FTU), wrote on her Facebook page.
Anh said that the incident made her worry about the security of her own school.
"School should be a place of safety and security for students to learn together, not a place where murders can take place," she said.
Anh cited Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong's words at the 10th National Youth Union Congress earlier this month. In a speech, Trong said that crimes among young people had increased dramatically.
"The problem is not just about being calm or controlling your temper - it is a problem of basic human ethics," Anh said.
A recent report from the Ministry of Public Security shows that criminals are getting younger and younger.
Of 31,000 people arrested for violence, 8.2 per cent were under 18 and more than 60 per cent ranged in age from 18 to 30.
This raises the question of whether schools are providing adequate security.
Nguyen Kim Son, Head of the Ha Noi University of Business and Technology's security office, said that six guards were assigned to each shift at the school, and there was also a video camera surveillance system.
"However, the incident happened suddenly, so it was difficult to predict," he said.
He admitted that such clashes between students inside the university had happened before but the school's guards had interfered in time to prevent any deaths.
"The school will step up security and educate students about ways to avoid falling into crime," he said.
Nguyen Trung Tuyen, head of the National Institute of Education Management's student affairs department, admitted that it was difficult to spot intruders or students bringing weapons into the school due to the shortage of security staff.
"Even if we issue student ID cards or increase patrols, it's still impossible to manage so many students," he said.
Nguyen Van Minh, a guard at a local university who insisted on keeping the school's name anonymous, agreed that the lack of security staff at schools made crime tricky to prevent.
"I not only have to work as a security guard, but also a vehicle guard," he said. "Many guards also lack the professional skills to cope with specific situations, as they are hired through connections."
Minh added that the salary for security staff was normally low, so many guards hesitated to stick their necks out to protect students.
Colonel Dao Thanh Hai, head of the Ha Noi Criminal Police Department, advised schools and universities to install video camera surveillance systems so that whenever there is a problem, school security staff can inform everyone immediately.
"The camera would also help record the image of suspects, which will then help the police in their investigations," he said.
But Anh from the FTU said that no matter how much security was in place, it would not help if students did not know how to protect themselves and avoid clashes. — VNS