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Teachers face hardships at remote VN schools

Update: January, 26/2016 - 08:05
Teachers of primary school No 1 in Pa U Commune in Muong Te District of northern mountainous Lai Chau Province put up boarding houses for students. Many teachers who have volunteered to work in remote and mountainous areas have been facing risks and difficulties due to a shortage of facilities and necessities for their lives. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Thuy

HA NOI (VNS) — Many teachers who have volunteered to move to work in remote and mountainous areas have said that they have been facing risks and difficulties due to a shortage of facilities and necessities for their lives.

They have proposed that more funds should be allocated to build concrete classrooms and boarding houses, improve sanitation systems, and install power cables to provide electricity.

Lo Thi Chien, who registered to work as a teacher at Nam Khan Pre-school in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien, said that she couldn't forget her first days at school.

"I had to walk through the forest and the mountain for four hours to get to school. The road was muddy and slippery, with cliffs on both sides," she said.

Chien said what she remembered when she took her first steps to the school were classrooms in poor condition without electricity and clean water.

Her room, which was located in the school campus, was temporarily built with a wood and plastic roof on the area of three square metres. A bed occupied most of the area, so Chien had to put all her stuff under the bed.

"I cried a lot at night and really didn't know who to ask for help," she said.

Chien said she only came back home in Son La Province, which was about 320 kilometres away from the school, on the Lunar New Year Festival and in summer. Most of the time she contacted with her husband and children via a small cell phone, which was charged by an electric battery.

"I have to climb up to high trees to keep the phone connected. Students laugh when they see me like that," she said.

After teaching time, Chien cooked a meal for the children. She has been doing this job for almost five years.

Tran Thi Huong, head of Ta Tong No1 Pre-school in the northern mountainous Lai Chau Province's Muong Te District, said she and her colleagues had to walk for six hours to get to a school in Dau Suoi Village. Some even got lost in the middle of the forest for hours.

"They told me that they were really scared and kept walking around looking for smoke rising up from the village," she said.

Ho Thi Quyen, deputy head of Ta Mit Pre-school in Than Uyen District recalled her first days moving to Ta Mit Village in 2009. She was swept away while crossing a river. She was lucky to get help from other colleagues.

Phung Thi Huyen, a teacher at Huoi Lech Pre-school in northern mountainous Dien Bien Province said that the biggest difficulty was the language barrier between the teachers and students. Thus, she forced herself to study the local language to communicate with students and encourage them to go to school everyday.

Hoang Duc Minh, deputy director of Lai Chau Province's Department of Education and Training said that many teachers must do many tasks such as teaching, cooking, and cleaning. Most boarding houses are in poor condition and lack electricity and clean water.

He said the department planned to build concrete houses for the schools, but funds are a big problem.

"To build a concrete house in the mainland only costs about tens or hundreds of millions of dong, but it might cost up to a billion to build that same house in remote areas," he said.

He suggested that the State should spend part of the funds for building classrooms, boarding houses and a sanitation system. It would help ease difficulties for teachers.

Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thi Nghia said that the ministry will propose the State to provide more financial support to teachers and students in remote and disadvantaged areas.

Currently, the ministry was building a programme of training ethnic languages for teachers who volunteer to work in remote areas. This would help them communicate with students and improve the education quality, she said. — VNS

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