11 Facts About Vietnamese Education and Poverty

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The world is developing more these days; many countries can provide their citizens with a good opportunity for education. Vietnam is one of the developing countries in the world that has made great progress in both the economy and many other fields such as technology and public health. However, there are still various poor areas in Vietnam where residents suffer from poverty and hunger.

In the mountainous regions, numerous schools do not have enough money to pay for the facilities and equipment that the students need. Many of these students now study in bad conditions, such as no proper toilets, old ables, and no air conditioners or fans.The teachers and pupils in these areas are also poor and are at a disadvantage compared with those in the cities.

Here are 11 facts you may not know about Vietnamese Education and poverty issues.

Some Schools Do Not Have Toilets

Surprisingly, toilets, necessary facilities for most schools, there are many schools in Vietnam who are lacking proper toilets.. Because of the lack of money in budgets, the government cannot support all schools all over the country, many schools now do not have funds to build a proper toilet for the students. As a result, their pupils have to endure not going to the toilets all day at schools or do it in fields or areas nearby the school; this harms the environment.

In Vietnam, there has been numerous projects in the recent years to solve this problem and build toilets for many schools. Project Sprouts is one of these meaningful projects. In years past, we have helped to build several toilets in some rural schools. We raised funds to construct toilets since some of the places where we worked lacked adequate sanitation for the children.

Some Schools Lack Basic Necessities

Some school lacks basic necessities as food, water, clothes, and other things that people need to maintain their daily lives. Nevertheless, in some underprivileged parts of Vietnam, these things are still in need.

In the past few years, I have read an article about the lack of food and water in poor schools that could not provide the students a proper meal. The pupils had to eat corns, cassava and potatoes to live through the school days and the teachers only had a bowl of rice with a small amount of chili powder or salt.

When the reporter asked a young teacher how they could eat this food when it tasted terrible, she cried and said that she had just come here from the city; she did not want to eat this food as it was too bad; however, then she realized that she had rice which was very rare in these areas that others were not able to eat sometimes. Being a teacher in a poor region had made her feel grateful and lucky when she still did have something to eat.

Moreover, these schools are usually unable to give students uniforms or clothes, not only because they are far from companies that make uniforms for pupils but also because they do not have enough money to do that. To them, having warm clothes to wear in the cold weather is enough, they do not demand beautiful or good quality clothes.

Some Schools Are In Bad Conditions

Tables, chairs, boards are basic facilities that a school needs, and there are many schools now that cannot respond to these things, they do not have enough chairs, tables, chalkboards so their students have to sit on the ground or sit at a broken chair which is believed to be collapsed after a few seconds.

In addition, having air conditioners or fans in these areas is a luxury when they cannot afford it, many parts of Vietnam is still lack of electricity that students have to study without lights and fans. Studying in a classroom with no air conditioners, lights or fans in 40 degrees C or over 110 degrees F in the summer may be unimaginable to many people, but it is the reality in some regions.

Many Teachers Must Travel Far So They Sleep At The School

Various teachers studied in cities and volunteered to go to poor areas to teach students here despite the poverty and disadvantage. I have seen a few teachers who even have houses in Hanoi with a job in an international school with abundant conditions chose to be a volunteer to teach at mountainous regions to give the children there a better opportunity for an education.

However, they can only buy or rent houses far away from the schools as these schools are usually located in desolate areas that people cannot live. Therefore, they choose to stay and sleep at schools to save time to travel to school when the roads here are tough to travel.

Although the schools may not be big or warm enough to stay at night, they want to save a part of their effort that they teach students more energetically.

Some Students Must Travel So Far So They Sleep At School

Same as the teachers, students’ houses are usually too far away from schools and the streets are too difficult to pass through that some of them have to wake up 3 or 4 am in the morning to go to schools.

Subsequently, many pupils decide to stay at school to not wake up too early in the morning and have a better sleep. So that students can have more energy to study and do some extra activities in the day.

Numerous parents agree to let their children sleep at school when there are also some teachers to take care of students and they understand that allowing their kids to stay at school is better for them to study and relax when they can save time and effort travelling to school.

School Is Not Free

The government gives students in Vietnam financial support in the first nine grades of education, but it is only for those who study in public schools. From high schools to higher education levels, families must pay for their children’s tuition fees. This tuition fee in public schools is usually very cheap, that most of the citizens can afford it.

However, when students study at schools, they have to pay a fee for meals, extra classes, or the trip that schools will organize once a year. And these kinds of fees are usually high that some families may not be able to pay for them.

Fortunately, many organisations and schools have scholarships for the excellent students to provide them financial assistance that may help them to have a chance to get a better education. Therefore, even the poor students can also have opportunities to study at good schools to have a stable job, and improve their future.

Students Must Wear Uniforms

In most Vietnamese schools, students must wear uniforms. This is an effective way to manage the schools’ students and makes students feel fair and comfortable while studying at school. Some students have better conditions and some whose families cannot afford expensive things so everyone wears the same clothes, which is a school uniform.

Uniforms helps students to feel that everyone is all the same, they are in the same school, have the same opportunity, receive the same education, have the same rights to do anything they want. When pupils have a chance to wear anything they love, they may be teased because of their ways of dressing or may feel sad and self-pity when their clothes are not as beautiful or expensive as the others.

Some schools require students to wear uniforms all week and some want pupils to wear uniforms a few days in a week. The designs of uniforms in Vietnamese schools are very plentiful and diversified in every color from white to pink, yellow, gray, and every form from pants to skirts, shirts to “ao dai” – the traditional costume of Vietnam.

In the City Students Have More Opportunties

Unlike children in poor areas, students in the city have more chances to study. In the cities, schools are usually funded by many companies, organizations or given financial support from the government. They can even make their own money by collecting the tuition fee from students. Therefore, they can afford better facilities such as tables, chairs, air conditioners in school so that students can study better.

Moreover, in the cities, students can attend more extra classes that pupils in poor areas cannot because there are no teachers who open extra classes in these regions and do not have enough money to study. There are many educational centers in the cities that provide students with high quality teachers and the best facilities.

In addition, students in the cities may have opportunities to go to study abroad, they can have scholarships or their families can afford for their studying at foreign countries. To the children in poor areas, usually cannot afford this luxury.

Students With Money Get A Better Education

This is a sad but true thing; the more wealthy the parents are, the better education the students can get. With money, parents can afford expensive schools and educational centers for their children to study; in these places, students can study in the best condition with luxurious conditions and be taught by high-quality teachers trained in foreign countries.

When their families are rich, the students do not have to spend time worrying about money issues; they have to study, do whatever they love, and buy whatever they want, while the children in poverty have to worry every day about the food they eat that day, the place they sleep that night.

Furthermore, students whose families have money can afford for them to study abroad with a better education and higher qualifications while it is almost impossible for those who are poor to study in the foreign countries.

Students Attend School 5 days a Week and Sometimes More

According to the government’s instruction, students must attend school five days a week from Monday to Friday. It depends on different schools to require pupils to study at school all day or only a morning or an afternoon.

However, in Vietnam, students also have to attend extra classes to pass the exams. Students in 9th grade and 12th grade preparing for the big entrance examinations of high schools and universities have to study all day at schools and then go to extra classes that usually finish at night in the evening and on the weekend. Even when they have some days off, they still need to finish the homework from school and these classes.

Many parents in Vietnam believe that if their children do not attend extra classes, their kids cannot pass the examinations, so that the more extra classes their children attend, the more excellent their kids will be.

Students Need to Memorize A Lot And Take A Lot of Exams

Unlike many other countries, the Vietnamese education systems still focused on the theory that does not pay attention to practicing much.

There are many subjects such as Geography, History, Civic Education require pupils to learn by heart many theories in the textbooks so that they are able to pass the examination. Consequently, many students are caught cheating in the exams when they cannot remember all the theories.

MoreoverVietnam’s education system now still evaluates students through examinations instead of doing group work or assignments. Vietnamese pupils have to take about 60 exams per term on average, usually are writing tests. Each subject requires the students to do at least 5 tests in one term, sometimes more than this number.

Luckily, our education system has realized that we should not concentrate on only theories that they have to consider some more ways for students to have scores such as doing assignments or doing presentations in class, even though the number of examinations is still the same but having scores is much easier than in the past when students have more ways.

Project Sprouts is a grassroots initiative to help schools, students, and communities in Vietnam. We work a lot in the Hmong communities in North Vietnam. All our proceeds go to help those in need. Would you please help us by giving to our cause so we can help those in need? You can give by clicking here.

Poverty In Vietnamese Schools And Why We Give School Supplies

Because of the lack of the Vietnamese national budget, numerous Vietnamese schools are still in poor condition, so that many non-profit organizations and companies have given these schools supplies to support the students’ learning. Some schools may even lack basic facilities like proper toilets.

You can learn more by reading Poverty In Vietnamese Schools And Why We Give School Supplies by clicking here.

What Are Some Important Facts About Vietnam’s Education System?

Being raised in a Vietnamese household gives me a sense of education’s importance from a young age. A repeated daily routine that only consisted of at least nine studying hours is done while assuming that I would be successful in the future if my grades were high. 

Vietnam’s education system has various aspects that need to be improved, such as poor students’ mental health, grade inflation, old-fashioned curriculum, etc.

You can learn more by reading Vietnam’s Education System Revealed, 3 Important Facts by clicking here.

James Johnstone
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