by Thu Trang
In 2000, the year of the Dragon, the number of newborns in Viet Nam increased sharply because Vietnamese and many other East Asian people believe that being born in the year of the Golden Dragon, the children will have easy and happy lives.
Now, as Dragon babies are 15 years old, many parents realise that there has been little happiness and many difficulties with their children going to school.
The main problem is that there are too many children but too few good schools in Viet Nam. About 85,000 15-year-old students took the high-school entrance exam last Thursday, an increase of more than 10,000 compared with previous years, according to the Ha Noi Department of Education and Training.
This means that more than 30,000 students will not have an opportunity to study at State schools because there are not enough to meet demand. The students will have to study at private schools with much higher school fees.
Nguyen Minh Ha (not her real name), lives in Ha Noi's Dong Da District, said she tried to have a son in the auspicious Dragon year hoping that he would have a bright future. But in fact, since she became pregnant, she was always worried her boy had too many competitors for kindergarten, primary school and now high school.
Ha's first daughter, who was born in the year of Tiger, did not have any problem when beginning a new study level, because not many people like the year of Tiger and there were fewer girls the same age to compete with. "Now I only wish that my son had enough marks to enter any State school, and I do not dream for a famous school," Ha said.
It is obvious that, instead of having advantages like their parents expected, the students born in the year of Dragon have many disadvantages. This downside continues when the children take the university exam or apply for a job – the pressure is always heavier.
This had happened three years ago as nearly a thousand parents pushed down the gate of a famous school in Ha Noi. They had waited overnight in the rain to be the first to get application forms for their children to the Ha Noi Experimental School in Ba Dinh District.
This school is the alma mater of Viet Nam's math genius Ngo Bao Chau.
My twin daughters will enter Grade 1 this September. I registered them at a State primary school in Ha Noi quite easy because they were born in the year of the Buffalo. People think that being born in the year will bring a hard life.
The Year of Pig in 2019 is believed to provide leisurely lives for those born in it. We may again see plenty of new-borns, and more competition to enter schools years later.
As silly as it sounds, maybe the best way to guarantee the future of your children is to make sure they are not born in the most auspicious years. Eat your heart out Dragons! — VNS