231 slaps on the face: education sector struggles with abuse incidents
VietNamNet Bridge - A student was given 231 slaps on the face recently because he spoke badly of someone’s mother.


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NTP Thuy, born in 1977, a teacher at Duy Ninh Commune’s Secondary School in Quang Ninh district of Quang Binh province, on November 19 told all of the 23 students in her class to give 10 slaps each to the face of the student.

The student who received the punishment was sixth grader Hoang Long Nhat, who was reported cursing the mother of a classmate.

Filled with pity for Nhat, the student class monitor had to organize the ‘slap campaign’ as instructed by the teacher. After 23 students ‘fulfilled their tasks’, the teachergave Nhat one more slap, the 231st, and Nhat was hospitalized because of the severe injury.

The behavior of the teacher has created controversy among the public. Parents commented on education forums that they cannot understand why a teacher, who has a high education level and teacher training, could engage in such misconduct.

The behavior of the teacher has created controversy among the public. Parents commented on education forums that they cannot understand why a teacher, who has a high education level and teacher training, could engage in such misconduct.

However, they got even angrier after hearing the teacher’s explanation that she did it because of pressure from the ‘emulation movement’.

Pham Thi Le Anh, headmaster of the school, confirmed that there was an emulation movement in which students strive for high achievements in learning and discipline. If a class has members talking rubbish, the class will receive bad scores.

A representative of Nhat’s family said that he was persuaded by the school and local authorities not to provide information about the case to the public and the press, because it could affect the prestige of the school. 

The school is expected to be recognized as a second-level national standard school.

Education experts pointed out that this is a typical example of the ‘achievement disease’ that Vietnam’s education has been suffering for many years.

The phrase ‘achievement disease’ has been used to talk about the serious problem in which schools try to ‘fabricate’ achievements and do everything they can to gain high positions in emulation movements.

The ‘achievement disease’ is the reason why most students in large cities finish academic years with the titles ‘excellent’ and ‘good’ students, and nearly all students in rural areas go on to the next forms, though many of them were later found illiterate.

The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) itself acknowledged the achievement disease and has released many legal documents to resolve the problem. However, it persists.

The punishment of slapping students on faces is the choice of many students. Some months ago, a teacher at Ninh So Primary School in Hanoi told 43 students to slap a classmate.


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Mai Lan

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