Schools with not enough students
August 18th, 2010
While many “star” schools complain that they have been overloaded with too many students, other smaller and less prestigious schools complain that they cannot enroll enough students.
The refused schools
Tran Minh Thu, Headmaster of Dien Bien Primary School in District 10 in HCM City said: “Our school is maybe the smallest school in HCM City, because we only have 100 students this school year. There are 20-25 students in every class.”
Thu said that in recent years, the number of students the school can enroll is just equal to 50 percent of the number the school plans to enroll. “High income parents do not want to bring their children to Dien Bien School. They want a more spacious school, so most of the students of the school come from poor families,” he said.
The Dien Bien Primary School was once a pagoda. The rooms here are not really classrooms in the usual sense of the world. There are some large rooms, but there are also small rooms, just 30 square meters. Meanwhile, in some classrooms, there are one or two big pillars in the middle of the classroom.
Poor facilities, small playing fields, and old classrooms have made parents hesitant in bringing their children there. “It is understandable why parents do not want their children to study there. All parents want to see their children studying at good schools with good facilities, because they understand how facilities can affect the quality of education,” Thu said.
Like Dien Bien School, in the 2010-2011 school year, Tri Tri Primary School in District 10 will enroll 34 students for the first grade, while the school had planned to receive 72 students.
Tri Tri school’s campus was once a house that has been upgraded into a school to serve the demand of local residents. It is so dark on the school’s playing field that lamps are turned on even during the daytime, though the field is just ten square meters.
While many “star” schools in HCM City complain that they are seriously lacking teachers, the teachers at Ly Thai To School in District 8 do not have jobs. Some of the teachers have to leave for other schools, because there are too many teachers in comparison with the number of students. Ly Thai To will enroll 44 students for the first grade, though it planned to enroll 90.
Nguyen Van Giau, Headmaster of Ly Thai To School, admitted that the school still cannot attract many students because of the poor facilities. There are only nineteen students in every class, while at “star” schools, the number of students in every class is very high, with 50-55 students.
All students accepted
While “star” schools have become more and more selective in enrolling students, the less prestigious schools accept all the students who want to study there.
According to Dinh Thien Can, Head of the District 1’s Education and Training Sub-department, Tran Quang Khai Primary School is capable of having three classes for first graders, but it has only enrolled two classes with 70 students. Parents do not choose Tran Quang Khai School for their children, because the school lacks a playground for students. The first campus of the school is located next to a market in a small alley, and parents find it difficult to drop off and meet their children.
There is a common theme with all the “refused schools.” Most of the students at these schools come from poor families. T, a teacher from Chuong Duong School revealed that teachers at these schools have to learn about students’ family conditions in order to help the students continue in their studies at the school.
In HCM City, for most schools the new school year began on August 16. However, many students of Dien Bien School did not attend school on that day.
“We have to call parents or come to their homes to persuade parents to allow their children to go to school,” a teacher of Dien Bien school said. “It is quite a normal thing here to see students going to school with no textbooks and school bags.”