Viet Nam News
by Bùi Quỳnh Hoa
Being unlike other children happily enjoying their summer vacation after a hard academic year, my daughter is stressed out because she has not attended extra classes to revise what she learned in fifth grade in preparation for the new school year, even though one month of her vacation has passed.
“Mom, my classmates have all attended many courses to prepare well for an exam to enter a class for excellent students. Why couldn’t I? I don’t want to be left behind when the new school year begins,” says my daughter Dương Ngân Hà, with a tired look in her eyes.
But when asked which subject she wants to major in and what job she wants to do in the future, she says she has no idea. All she wants is to be able to attend those extra classes like her friends. She has no other dreams.
Nguyễn Việt Anh, a 10th grade student from Nguyễn Gia Thiều High School in Hà Nội’s Long Biên District, has a different view.
“After nine months of an exhausting school year, I think I have a right to enjoy my whole vacation without studying,” Anh says.
“Thinking about my future plans and ambition? No, I have no idea at all. I don’t really know what I want to do in the future. My parents will determine the direction to develop my future career,” he claims.
My son, Dương Quốc Hải, an 11th grade student from the district’s Phúc Lợi High School also gets angry when I ask him about his future career.
“My dream is to become a game creator. That’s all,” he says.
Many parents have pushed their children to study during the three-month-long summer vacation because they are afraid the kids will otherwise spend all their time playing games. They think studying is the most important task for their children.
Encouraging and nurturing their children’s dreams and ambitions come second.
“Nurturing the ambitions of my sweethearts is a must, but not now,” Lê Yên Chi, a mother of an 11-year-old and an eight-year-old, says.
“This summer, I prefer to send my daughter to learn swimming, painting and communicative skills,” Chi says.
“I also want her to spend time enjoying nature in the rural areas. She should listen to the birds singing, the wind blowing and smell the wild flowers and grass. This contact with nature is good for her psychological development, I think,” she adds.
Lê Kim Phượng, a mother of two from Hà Nội, agrees with Chi.
“In my opinion, the utmost priority for our children, currently, is to help them grow well, gain high marks at school and become good human beings. They are too young to ask them to think about their ambitions.”
Many others, however, have differing opinions.
“Along with absorbing knowledge at school, our children should nurture dreams and ambitions, both big and small,” says Bùi Ngọc Minh from the Construction Hospital. “We not only teach them knowledge, but also teach them how to become a good person.”
Dr Vũ Minh Khương, an associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, also agrees that ambition plays an important role for today’s youth. According to him, ambition can drive a person to achieve something, which they cannot do otherwise, and great ambition and effort are required of all generations to help the country move forward.
At a teleconference to implement the Prime Minister’s decision to educate young generations on patriotic ideals, morals and lifestyles, Vũ Văn Trà, deputy director of the Hải Phòng Education and Training Department, highlighted the fact that many young people lack ambition and do not nurture dreams.
Nguyễn Thị Nghĩa, vice minister of education and training, also said only 10 out of 23 ministries and branches and 30 out of 63 provinces and cities have plans to implement the PM’s decision to educate young people on patriotism, morals and lifestyles.
Implementation, she added, requires much closer collaboration between the authorities, schools, families and the youth union.
At a meeting with 800 students of the Hải Phòng University last month, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc urged students to be determined to study hard and nurture their dreams to become useful citizens.
He said students should have ambitions, constantly study and improve themselves. If the country is engaged in start-ups, students should be the first to participate, he added.
Everyone has a dream. It should be nurtured in order to lead us to a brighter future and withstand difficulties and challenges along the way. VNS