Gifted students from poor families struggle to continue education

VietNamNet Bridge –  Though some child prodigies who were born into poor families often receive a poor education, they can still show outstanding abilities if given the chance.

Vietnam, child prodigies, primary school, teaching method
Lam Chi Hieu

Ten years ago, Lam Chi Hieu, called the “the Ca Mau child prodigy” from Ca Mau Province, became famous for his ability to read fluently when he was 32 months old.

A clever boy, he was not lucky with his education. His outstanding ability allowed him to enroll in the first grade when he was five (in Vietnam, children begin school at the age of six). However, the child prodigy, who is now 12 years old, is still a sixth grader, while his friends are now seventh graders.

When asked why his son was behind in school, Lam Thanh Nhi, the father of Hieu, said he could not afford to take Hieu to school.

“I met a lot of difficulties in my business at that time. It would have been very costly to take boats to school every day. Therefore, I thought I’d better leave Hieu at home,” he said.

Only in 2009, when the local authorities decided to give financial support to the family could Hieu return to school.

Nhi recalled the days when Hieu was born. As Nhi did not have money, his wife had to give birth at home.

Hieu was pale and weak, and he could not talk until he was two years old, which made Nhi think his son was dumb.

However, he was surprised when one day the son could read all the words he saw at a drugstore.

“Tens of reporters and experts came to see us and test my son’s ability. They all affirmed that the boy could read like a literate person,” he said.

Now the child prodigy and his family members still live in the same old house which has not changed over the last 10 years, except the appearance of a lot of certificates for Hieu’s outstanding learning records.

Hieu now looks thin, pale, shy and uncommunicative. However, his learning records are wonderful. He won first prize at the district’s Vietnamese language and math competitions, second prize at the province’s Vietnamese language and math Olympiad, and third prize at the province’s English Olympiad.

Pham Thi Bich Thuy, a teacher of Hieu, called him a special student who is good at all learning subjects. However, he is best at math, physics and foreign language. He has reportedly “defeated” the 8th and 9th graders of the school to win the first prize at the school’s chess competition.

However, he seriously lacks life skills. He is often silent and has poor communication skills. Psychologists said that it is necessary for educators to offer suitable education programs to help child prodigies develop their abilities. It is also necessary to prepare them with useful life skills to help them adapt to life and grow up into useful citizens for society.


Vietnam, child prodigies, primary school, teaching method