Students drop out, take jobs in Laos

Update: March, 11/2015 - 09:45
Students are practicing in an exercise class in Loc Bon Secondary School. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu

THUA THIEN - HUE (VNS) — Despite school boards' attempts to bring dropout students back to class, many have quit their studies in central Thua Thien - Hue Province to take jobs in Laos.

Three schools in Loc Bon and Loc Son communes in the province's Phu Loc District have seen 70 students drop out during the 2014-15 academic year.

The students live in Loc Bon and Loc Son communes, where one fifth of the residents work in neighbouring Lao as carpenters, mechanics, construction workers, tailors and housekeepers. Some students feel pressure to leave school to work in Laos, like their parents.

Nguyen Nhan Phai, rector of Loc Bon Secondary School, said teachers weren't able to bring the students back, despite having visited students' homes to speak with their parents.

He said the school offered free extra classes to students with low grades and created several entertainment programmes to make school more fun, but neither incentive helped.

"We couldn't deny the fact that teenage dropouts could earn a living, while higher education would cost their family so much and wouldn't secure them employment, either," he said.

Visa exemptions added a few years ago give teenagers yet another reason to work in Laos instead of sticking with their studies, said Vo Dai Chau, head of the Loc Bon Commune security unit. If Viet Nam made visa procedures more difficult, it might keep more kids from leaving school.

Pham Van Ky, whose son left Loc Son Secondary School, told Dan Viet (Viet Citizens) that literacy was enough for his son and he should start working to help his family escape poverty.

The report also said local An Luong Dong High School loses around 40 students each academic year. Bach Van Thanh, deputy chairman of Loc Bon Commune, said a solution hadn't been found.

Local authorities and teaching boards said they were worried students would continue to drop out in years to come. — VNS