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Coastal kids drop out to work at sea

Update: August, 17/2017 - 08:00
Children on Cửa Việt beach, Quảng Trị Province. - VNS Photo Trương Vị
Viet Nam News

QUẢNG BÌNH — People in coastal Hải Ninh Commune, Quảng Ninh District in the central province of Quảng Bình mostly earn a living at sea.

In the coastal commune, children aged six or seven sail boats to help their parents with fishing. When they are teenagers, some children become professional fishermen.

For the last few years, an increasing number of students in the commune have dropped out of school to work at sea.

According to the commune People’s Committee, in the school year 2016-2017, the commune had 115 students graduate from secondary schools but just 88 applied to high schools for 2017-2018.

It is unclear if all of the 88 students will attend high school.

Hoàng Văn Than, head of the commune’s Studying Promotion Association said that after graduating from secondary schools, many local students did not want to continue their education.

“Male students work at sea with their families while female students quit school and go to urban areas to seek jobs,” Than said.

With the new school year fast approaching early next month, Than said that local authorities and agencies are trying to encourage children to return to school.

In the past, children of poor households dropped out of schools because of financial difficulties but recently, children of well-off families have also quit school early to work, he said.

Nguyễn Xuân Ninh, 15 years old, of Hải Ninh Commune, has worked on an offshore fishing boat for three months after he graduated from secondary school.

“I won’t continue going to school because I am not good at studying. My family is not well-off and I also have two younger sisters at school age. Now, I can work to earn some money to help my parents,” Ninh said.

Ninh said that most boys in his class did not go to school any more, with only 10 of the 31 in his class planning to return to school.

Another teenager Nguyễn Văn Hiệp said he and his family agreed that even with a degree, he would struggle to get a job.

So after graduating from secondary school, Hiệp started working at sea like his father.

In other central coastal provinces including Nghệ An, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên-Huế, school dropouts have been reported because of poverty and early marriage.

Đỗ Văn Phu, director of Quảng Ngãi Province’s Education and Training Department said that last school year, the province had a dropout rate of 0.69 per cent  or more than 1,400 dropping out, including 24 primary students, 571 secondary students and 841 high school students.

Phu said that the number of students dropping out fell but the dropout rate remained high.

He said students who performed poorly did not want to continue schooling and the low rate of students find work after graduation also harmed school attendance.

Nguyễn Đình Vĩnh, director of Đà Nẵng City’s Education and Training Department said that timely assistance to disadvantaged students could help prevent them dropping out.

He said that at the beginning and end of terms, the department asked schools and teachers to review students’ situations and give assistance. — VNS

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