Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Schools famous, students unhappy

By VietNamNet/TP
April 29, 2009

VietNamNet Bridge – As VietNamNet has reported, a lot of parents have been soliciting for their children to get seats at famous schools, ready to pay several thousand dollars for the seats. But many of them have regretted doing this.

$3,000 for a seat at a ‘star’ school?

Going and then running

Students of Thang Long Primary School during the playtimeParents say that there exists a gap in the teaching quality between famous and less famous schools, but the gap proves to be not as big as rumoured.

The story of T’s soliciting for a seat at T. secondary school in Hoan Kiem district for his son has become well known among parents who have children going to primary school.

T is a pilot who has a high income but does not have much time to take care of his son. Therefore, T wanted to send his child to T. secondary school as he heard that this was the best school in Hanoi.

However, T’s son had to leave the school after the first year of studying there, because his son got ‘too much care’ from the teacher.

T related that his wife one time received calls from the teacher asking to meet to discuss the child’s studies. His wife found out at the meeting that her son had made some petty mistakes. At first, T and his wife felt happy because they thought the teacher was showing their son special attention.

However, T and his wife felt unhappy later as the teacher continued calling and asked them to come to see her repeatedly. Every time T’s wife went to see the teacher, she had to bring gifts and ‘envelopes’ for the teacher.

T said that his son is an active boy, but he is not naughty and he never does anything seriously wrong. Therefore, he did not think that his son needed the special attention of the teacher. After the first year, T decided to send his son to Ngoc Lam Primary School, a less famous school, located near his house.

In 2008, a stewardess of Vietnam Airlines also decided to take her son out of K Primary School just after a few months of studying there.

The stewardess said that she initially did not intend to send her son to a state-owned school, but his grandfather, a former official of the Ministry of Education and Training, insisted he go to K school.

She said that she felt unhappy with the son’s studies at the school, because she had to contribute money to too many funds which were set up to collect more money from students’ parents.

Schools famous, students unhappy

H can send her son to a famous school in Hanoi because she has a relative who is a senior official in the organ of justice. However, H is unhappy because of the unfriendly relationship between her and her son’s teachers.

When the son went to the first class, the teacher met H and complained about the weak learning capability of H’s son, suggesting that the boy attend an extra class run by the teacher herself.

However, H did not want to send her son to the extra class, deciding to give extra lessons herself to her son. This made the teacher unhappy and she always complained about the child.

“Star” schools have been praised for high achievements (they have excellent students at district and city levels). However, the problem with the schools is that they all suffer from “achievement diseases” (trying to obtain achievements at any cost). Moreover, the numbers of pupils in a class at these schools is always very high.

Kim Lien, Nguyen Truong To, Giang Vo and Dong Da schools, for example, have 55-60 students in every class.

Other schools, though famous for study achievements of students and good teaching quality, have poor infrastructure and material facilities. Thang Long Primary School, for example, has headquarters on Ngo Tram street, but it has to hire other places as classrooms for its students.

Educators have called for a stop to the trend of soliciting for seats at “star” schools, saying that it is unnecessary for parents to pay so much money just to get seats at well-known schools, and it is unreasonable to put pressure on small children.

But what can be done to stop this?

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