Schools in some remote areas of the central region are facing difficulties attracting students back to schools after the Tet holiday as many prefer staying at home to help their parents with new farm crops.
Only eight pupils attended a class at Ba Xa Secondary School in Ba To District, Quang Ngai Province afterTet last year.
It has always been difficult for teachers in some remote and mountainous areas of Quang Tri, Quang Ngai, Quang Nam and Thua Thien-Hue provinces to call for pupils to return to school after the holiday. Besides the long distance and poor quality education facilities, thousands of pupils choose to quit school this time to help their parents with the new crops.
According to deputy director of Quang Ngai Provincial Department of Education and Training, Nguyen Kien, pupils dropping out of school after Tet occurs every year.
“Our report showed that more than 2,500 pupils haven’t returned to schools in the whole province as of February 10,” Kien revealed. “Ba To District saw the highest number with over 1,500. One of the reasons for this situation is that the ethnic minority people here had a longer Tet holiday. Besides, many pupils stayed home to help their parents with the new crop.”
Many schools in the two mountainous districts of Huong Hoa and Dakrong in Quang Tri Province have also reported high number of absent pupils in recent days.
Head of Dakrong District’s Department of Education and Training, Nguyen Si Huan, expressed concerns over the number.
“4% of high school pupils and 10% of secondary pupils haven’t returned to class in our district,” Huan said. “Most of these students are from poor families of Pa Co and Van Kieu ethnic minority groups whose parents don’t want to let their children continue school.”
The neighbouring Quang Nam Province is also seeing the same situation. Nguyen Van Ngoc, headmaster of Quang Trung High School in Dong Giang District said that 28 out of 473 pupils at his school haven’t come back to class.
“These students live very far from school, between 60-70 kilometres of mountainous road which can only be accessed by foot,” Ngoc revealed.
Persuading pupils back to school
Teacher Le Quoc Dai at Tra Lanh Secondary School in Quang Ngai said that for many years, they have to divide into groups and visit homes after Tet to persuade parents let their children return to school.
At Ba Nang Primary School in Quang Tri, teacher Nguyen Trung Tuyen also said that they are visiting homes at weekends as part of the campaign.
“It is usually very difficult persuading the parents who don’t take schooling serious,” Tuyen said. “Often we have to ask for help from local authorities to get the parents sign commitments about letting their children return to school. And this seems to be more effective.”