SOS: students give up school to earn money
February 18th, 2011
The high percentage of drop-outs cause a headache to the provinces in the central region and Mekong Delta. Many students have given up schools because they are busy working to earn money for their families.
It has been one week since The schools in Quang Ngai province have returned to their normal working after a long Tet holiday. However, hundreds of students in six mountainous districts, including Ba To, Son Ha, Minh Long, Son Tay, Tra Bong and Tay Tra, still have not come back to school.
Chief Secretariat of the Quang Ngai provincial education and training department Nguyen Ngoc Tuu has confirmed that in these districts, only 85 percent of students have returned to classes, and that hundreds of students have not turned up.
Explaining this, Tuu explains that it is now the harvest season for dot tree (a type of tree used to make brooms), therefore, many students have to help their families to earn their living. Besides, some other students want to prolong the Tet holiday, therefore, they have not come to class. Tuu says that the students will come back to school in the second half of the first month of the lunar year.
Director of the Education and Training Department of Binh Dinh province Tran Van Quy reports that 2000 students in the province have given up school after the end of the first semester. Especially, high schools have the highest percentage of drop-outs:1400 students. Their bad results at school and difficult financial situation have been cited as the main reasons.
Thanh Hoa province has also reported that many students in the province have given up school to pick dot and bong lau trees to earn money. These trees are called by local residents as the “gifts from the forest” and are harvested only in dry season. Every student can earn 50,000-70,000 dong a day from picking and selling dot and bong lau, therefore, they would rather go working than to school.
The report released by the Thanh Hoa Education and Training Department on February 16 showed that by the end of the first semester of the 2010-2011 academic year, 2000 students had reportedly dropped out. Most of them are living in mountainous areas. These include 1172 high school students and 841 secondary school students.
The same is happening in Mekong River Delta. Teachers in the provinces have to go to students’ families to persuade parents to let their children go to school. But without success because most students are still busy working with their parents to earn the living.
In Ca Mau, not only students in remote areas, but also those in the city have also given up school. After the Tet holiday, 240 students of the Ca Mau High School reported that they have to work for money.
The number of students at the Ca Mau High School has dropped from 4160 to 3920. The school headmaster Tran Hong Chau says that the regulation that tuitions for the year have to be paid in one installment has caused big difficulties for poor households. As a result, many students have to give up school because they do not have the money.
In Soc Trang province, Pham Thi Cam Tu, Headmaster of Nguyen Khuyen High School said that the number of students has decreased by 4.7 percent. “We have been told that many students have given up schools to go working,” she says.
The high percentage of drop-outs causes a headache to many provinces. However, there is no easy solution because parents say their children need to earn their living first before thinking of going to school. Some parents have told teachers that they will only let their children return to school if local authorities give them rice and food.
Headmaster of Tu Diem Primary School in Soc Trang province Nguyen Van Von said that the sea water has penetrated the poor district and flooded the farm lands. Therefore, local residents have to leave villages for other localities to work for other people. As children follow their parents and drop out from schools.