“Floods are over, but we don’t have money to pay tuition”
November 12th, 2010
In the central province of Ha Tinh, the historical violent flood is over. Roads have been cleared from mud and classrooms have been tidied up again. But hardships are still accompanying every student on their way to school.
Students do not have money to pay tuition
When VietNamNet’s reporters arrived, the children of the Son Loc Nursery School in Can Loc District were having lunch. Though it is a national standardized school, there were only vegetables, snacks and rice for lunch. The school is located in the most depressed area of the District.
After the lunch children took a nap. Some children could sleep on old and torn pillows, while less fortunate children did not have pillows. Most of the things the schools had were washed away by the flood and those that remain are useless because they are molding.
Every student has to pay 5000 dong for a lunch at the school while in big cities each student lunch of is worth at least 15,000 dong. However, 150 children out of 313 children cannot afford the small sum of money.
Some donors came to the distraught area and gave the school some gifts including a computer, 50 boxes of milk and 10 boxes of sweets. Nguyen Thi Quy, Headmaster of the school, said that in order to arrange enough money to prepare lunches for the children, the school has to use a part of the headmaster’s and teachers’ salaries.
Meanwhile, the incomes of the 29 teachers here are very “modest”: every teacher receives 840,000 dong a month plus allowance. Meanwhile, the teachers themselves are also facing difficulties because their homes were also inundated 1-2 meters.
At Xuan Loc semi-state nursery school in Can Loc District which has 313 children, donors have brought cakes, milk, instant noodles, vegetable oil and fish sauce.
“Honestly speaking, we received a lot of clothes from a group of donors, but these are the clothes for adults and do not fit children,” the school’s Headmaster Pham Thi Hang said. “However, in our situation, every effort of support and assistance is really valuable”.
The students of the school have to pay 35,000 dong a month for lunches, while the children from poor families have to pay 30,000 dong. To be exact, they have to pay 2000 dong only for a lunch which is just enough to buy a bunch of rau muong (water spinach) in Hanoi). However, eight students still cannot afford for the lunches.
School uniform? It’s too much of a luxury
Though the aid trucks with food and clothes are still going to Ha Tinh everyday, the students of many kindergartens and primary schools in Can Loc and Huong Son Districts still have to wear torn clothing.
Nguyen Danh Tinh, Headmaster of Nam Son Primary School, related that many students have to wear shirts with large holes and no button-hole. “However, we cannot do anything, because there are up to 150 children from poor families, who are living in the poorest villages of the district. Many children even do not have sandals to go to school,” he said.
Therefore, having school uniform proves to be a luxury for students there. Teachers try to persuade parents to spend money to buy winter school uniforms, but parents answer that they do not have any more money.
Two groups of donors came to Nam Son School, giving textbooks and pens, but there were no clothes. Though winter is coming, children still have to go to school in thin shirts.
Students asked to delay in tuition payment
At Son Long Primary School in Huong Son District, which was 2-3 meters under the water, a row of rooms suffered roof damage from the flood. The school has 200 students who go to classes both in the morning and afternoon. They are required to pay 2000 dong for every lunch, but none of the students has paid because they do not have money.
According to Bui Thi Kim Thoa, Headmaster of Xuan Loc Secondary School, 65 percent of students still cannot pay tuition, though the tuition levels are very low, only 7000 dong a month for sixth graders, 8000 dong for 7th graders and 9000 dong for 8th graders. The school really wants to build up a library, worth 300 million dong, but this remains a far-away dream.