Mountainous teachers struggling to get pupils back to school

Teachers in several northern mountainous provinces are facing difficulties encouraging their pupils to return to school after the summer holiday.

Ha Thi Thao, a secondary school teacher in Bach Thong District, Bac Kan Province, and co-workers have to walk for five hours to visit each of their pupils and persuade them to return to school.

"The pupils called each other and ran away when seeing us. It's infuriating, pitiful and hilarious at the same time," she said. "The pupils in mountainous areas are very shy so teachers must be very tactful in order to persuade them."

As it took days to persuade the pupils who didn't want to go to school, they were behind schedule and the teachers had to help them catch up. Despite difficulties, the teachers won't give up.

Vang Thi Hien in Lai Chau Province said even though she was from Thai ethnic group, she faced many difficulties in persuading the pupils from her group. There are many reasons for a pupil to stay home including parents wanting their children to continue helping them in the fields. In these cases, teachers have to explain to the parents why going to school is important and children can still help parents out after school.   

Many pupils don't want to walk through mountains and streams over long distances to get to school. Hien said lots of pupils stay home when it rained or during harvest season. The pupils aren't given free textbooks this year so many families are unable to afford school supplies. They are mostly from Thai, H'Mong ethnic groups and struggle to have daily meals.

"In 2015-2016 school year, I taught a pupil whose parents always stayed at the field. He skipped school so I had to go to his house every day. I really feel for them, they are still small but have to work to help parents," she said.

Pham Quoc Bao, head of Nam Manh Primary School in Lai Chau Province, said they went to pupils' houses every year to persuade them. Sometimes, the teachers have to pay for the pupils' school supplies otherwise their parents won’t make them go to school. 

The border guards in Muong Pon Commune also helped in persuading pupils to school and are worried about the situation.

Major Tran Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Muong Pon Border Guard, said, "We donated a little money from our own salaries and will select four disadvantaged pupils to give VND500,000 (USD22) monthly support. We'll try to maintain the fund to support the pupils until they reach grade 12."



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Huoi Ke school site in Dien Bien Province.




Mountainous teachers struggling to get pupils back to school, Vietnam education, Vietnam higher education, Vietnam vocational training, Vietnam students, Vietnam children, Vietnam education reform, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietn

Children cross a stream to Bum To Primary School in Lai Chau Province.




Mountainous teachers struggling to get pupils back to school, Vietnam education, Vietnam higher education, Vietnam vocational training, Vietnam students, Vietnam children, Vietnam education reform, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietn

A teacher at Bum To Primary School in Lai Chau Province helps his pupils cross a stream on the way to school.


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Mountainous teachers struggling to get pupils back to school, Vietnam education, Vietnam higher education, Vietnam vocational training, Vietnam students, Vietnam children, Vietnam education reform, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietn
 
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