Ngô Thời Nhiệm school in Thủ Dầu Một City of the southern province of Bình Dương has held a ceremony to welcome the school new year. The school has also started piloting a Smart Education model – which is expected to help students with critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills via an ICT-based approach – supported by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Hà Nội-based education company NTT Việt Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Văn Việt
HÀ NỘI — Võ Văn Cương, vice principal of Ngọc Yêu Secondary School, removes mud from his sandals after walking for 20 minutes along a dirt road after heavy rain. Like teachers across the country, he is gearing up for a new school year.
Cương, along with several other teachers from the school are visiting students’ houses in Ba Tu 1 Village, Ngọc Yêu Commune – a remote and underprivileged area in Tu Mơ Rông District, the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, to persuade them to return to school before the new school year starts on September 5.
“Persuading parents to allow their children to return to school is a long and hard journey,” Cương, who has worked at the school for 15 years, said.
However, the task was necessary, he said.
“No feeling can compare to when we see our classes full of students at the start of every school year,” he said.
Like Cương, thousands of teachers in remote and underprivileged areas nationwide do the same to prepare for the new school year.
Võ Thị Hồng Yến, vice principal of Phổng Lái Primary School in the northern mountainous province of Sơn La, said to maintain class numbers, all teachers had to go to students’ houses to persuade their parents to let them return to school instead of working in the fields or doing household chores at least a month before the new school year starts.
The school also co-operated with local authorities to disseminate information on the importance of education to the parents, she said.
The school has about 240 students, mainly belonging to the Thai ethnic minority group.
Nguyễn Thị Duyên, a teacher at the school, said as the district was a poor and remote area, it was difficult for the teachers to get students to go to school.
Teachers could only meet the students’ parents at noon or in the evening when they returned home from the fields to persuade them to allow their children to return to the school, she said.
“Some parents cannot speak Vietnamese well, so the teachers had to learn the Thai language to communicate with them,” she said.
A child and her mother select books and stationery supplies for the new school year in the northern province of Bắc Ninh. — VNA/VNS Photo
Ready for a new school year
In addition to persuading students to come back, schools have also installed equipment and repaired classrooms.
In Kon Tum Province, Tu Mơ Rông District’s Education and Training Office had spent VNĐ10 billion (US$433,000) on repairing six classrooms and re-building 66 toilets and 52 water-supply installations in local schools.
An Văn Sáu, head of the office, said it called upon local residents to help clean schools, and kind-hearted people to donate clothes and textbooks to help poor students prepare for the new school year.
In Sơn La Province, Thuận Châu District’s Education and Training Office had directed schools to upgrade classrooms and other facilities for the new school year.
Thiệu Nam Bình, head of the office said it not only allocated fund to repair schools but also dispatched more teachers in an attempt to improve the quality of education in the district for the new school year.
In the northern province of Thanh Hoá, Quan Sơn District – the area which suffered most from typhoon Wipha last month, with 15 people were killed and dozens of houses and classrooms of Na Mèo Primary School destroyed – the local administration and education sector has promptly fixed facilities so that 10,000 local students could welcome the new school year.
The People’s Committee of the district has invested VNĐ400 million (US$17,300) to repair the classrooms before the construction of a new school is finished.
In Hà Nội, all schools are ready.
Phạm Xuân Tiến, deputy head of the city's Department of Education and Training said the opening ceremony for the new school year would be organised simply and quickly, focusing on welcoming first-class students and trying to make a good impression for newcomers.
In HCM City, the local Education and Training Department has sent a message asking local schools to create a friendly and happy environment for students, especially newcomers in the opening ceremony of the new school year.
Đỗ Ngọc Chi, principal of Nguyễn Thái Học Primary School, the school had been colourfully decorated and would organise painting activities as well as giving presents for first-class students in order to create a pleasant environment for students to start the year.
However, in two provinces of Hà Tĩnh and Quảng Bình – which have experienced torrential rain in recent days – the local education sector has ordered schools to allow students to be absent from the opening ceremony of the new school year in case of emergencies to ensure the safety.
Learning life skills
Minister of Education and Training Phùng Xuân Nhạ yesterday told Tuổi trẻ (Youth) online newspaper that the top priority of the nation’s education sector was teaching students how to be good citizens.
“Teaching them to become a good citizen, teaching them life skills and teaching them about ethics and lifestyle,” Nhạ said.
Nhạ also called upon parents and the community to help educate students. He quoted an African proverb which says “It takes a village to raise a child."
This means the close co-operation between the family, school and society would help teach students in ethics, lifestyle and life skills, he said.
Only when there was participation among society as a whole, would educational innovation be successful, he added.
Nhạ said he wished students nationwide a healthy and safe school year with lots of fun and new achievements in study and practice.
It is estimated that 23.5 million students at all levels will enjoy the opening ceremony of the new school year on September 5. — VNS