Public schools are not the only choice

July, 09/2018 - 11:00

Results of the entrance exam to public high schools in Hà Nội and HCM City have been announced. For those who passed, the testing time for both parents and students have turned into joyful moment.

Students gather after taking the maths test of the public high school entrance exam in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyết
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The results of the public high school entrance exams in Hà Nội and HCM City have been announced, giving great joy to those students who passed and their families.

But for more than 50,000 students who failed, they now face the prospect of private schools.

Public schools in Việt Nam are generally preferred by students and parents. Getting into public schools is a must for the majority of parents and students. As a result, the pressure to pass the exam is huge for the teenagers.

Due to public school’s popularity, public schools in big cities have been overcrowded for years.

According to Hà Nội’s Education and Training Department, there are 2,669 schools in the capital city, more than 80 per cent of which are public schools.

One public school class is supposed to have 35 to 40 students. However, it is hard to find any big city public school class with less than 50 students.

It is even harder to address the public school overcrowding in the context of rapid population growth.

On the other side of the coin, some private schools in Hà Nội struggle to attract students, except famously high-quality schools like Lương Thế Vinh and Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm.

Private high schools are considered a last resort for many.

Different view

Unlike the majority, Trịnh Xuân, living in Hà Nội’s Thanh Xuân District, decided to let his child study at a private primary school.

“After three years of learning at a top public school of the district, my child moved to a private school. I could not let my child study in a class of more than 60 students. It is impossible for teachers to look after each and every student,” he said.

“One month after moving to the private school, my child feels more comfortable. She is no longer afraid of going to school and gets excited every morning. She is becoming more independent,” he said.

Another parent named Ngô Thanh from Cầu Giấy District registered her child for the FPT private high school after failing the public school exam.

“I haven’t regretted my decision. The FPT learning environment is totally different from pressurised and overcrowded public schools. My child is getting more independent thanks to boarding school. English is a priority subject so he does not have to attend extra English classes,” she said.

“Teachers pay more attention to each student because there are only 25 students in a class. Each of them can fully tap their potential with the teacher’s help,” she said, adding that her son did quite well in the university entrance exam this month.

Despite higher tuition fees than public schools, Thanh said students do not have to take extra classes (like public school kids). Parents also do not have to take them to school.

Mindset change

According to National Assembly deputy Lưu Bình Nhưỡng, for a long time, society has seen public schools as more important than private schools.

“I see that many private schools are of good quality. However we still persist with the mindset that public schools are better than private ones. We should remember that private schools are making contributions to training students but this sector is being left behind,” he said.

Nguyễn Văn Hòa, president of board of directors of Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm private school told Lao Động (Labour) newspaper that the public should view public and private schools equally.

“Private schools should receive assistance and investment in terms of infrastructure and loans,” he said.

Professor Vũ Tuấn, president of board of directors of Hồng Hà private school said “Private schools share the burden of overcrowding with public schools and contribute to reducing State investment in education.”

He also urged the Ministry of Education and Training to pay more attention to private schools.

New direction

Some students opt for apprentice schools over private schools when they fail the public entrance exams.

Nguyễn Thanh Sang failed the exam to Nguyễn Thị Diệu high school in HCM City several years ago. Thanks to advice from teachers, he decided to apply for an automobile technical class. “I feel like I am following the right direction,” he said.

HCM City has been a leading locality in offering assistance to students who fail to get into public high schools.

According to the city’s Department of Education and Training, students who fail the exam can come back to their secondary school to receive consultations on their future.

Secondary schools in District 11 review the number of students who fail. After that, the district’s education and training division meets with parents and students to talk to them about studying at continuing education centres or private high schools.

Education officers of District 6 also meet with each student who fails and their family to offer consultation. — VNS