When the boarding school gives wings to children from ethnic minorities

Ethnic minority students in Ninh Phuoc enjoy every day spent at their boarding school. In addition to helping them become independent, teachers contribute to their development and offer them the opportunity to realize their dreams.

Teacher Nguyên Mai Ngoc Huyên and her students in the library of the ethnic minority boarding school in Ninh Phuoc.

One autumn day, we arrive at the ethnic minority boarding school in Ninh Phuoc, a district of Ninh Thuan, a coastal province in the southern part of the Center. The golden rays of the rising sun and the fresh air of the early morning create a peaceful atmosphere in the school. The voices of the students resound in the music room: “Em yêu truong em, voi bao ban thân, và cô giao hiên. Nhu yêu quê huong, cap sach toi truong trong muôn vàn yêu thuong” (literally: I love my school where I have many close friends and gentle teachers. I love my native country where I am studying at school, surrounded by love).

Very elegant in its ao dai, (traditional Vietnamese tunic), English teacher Nguyên Mai Ngoc Huyên welcomes us with a sweet smile. She explains to us: “We are preparing for Vietnamese Teachers’ Day on November 20. Many singing and dancing performances will be presented by the students”.

Students at the heart of concerns

Located in the town of Phuoc Dân, the Ninh Phuoc Ethnic Minority Boarding College was built in 2013 at a cost of 61 billion VND from the state budget. This year, it welcomes 45 students from 6e class, from the two districts of Ninh Phuoc and Thuân Nam. “Most are of Cham ethnicity”informs us Trân Mai Thanh, deputy director of the school. “Beyond the exemption of tuition fees and the granting of health insurance, secondary school students benefit from financial aid equivalent to 85% of the minimum wage for workers for meals, learning tools and uniforms, in particular. Sometimes they can save part of this amount to support the daily lives of their families”he shares.

Teacher Hà Thi Phuong Truc (1st from left) goes to Cuong’s (2nd from left) to explain to his grandmother the support policies he can benefit from.

In her house made of odds and ends, full of materials picked up from the garbage, Truong Thi Ân is moved to tears when she sees her grandson Thiên Anh Cuong going to school and benefiting from the assistance policy of the Party, of the State and the Ministry of Education and Training in favor of ethnic pupils in difficult circumstances. It is with a tight throat that she confides: “Soon after their marriage, Cuong’s parents divorced and left our village to earn a living in the South. They left me their one-year-old baby. Since then, I have taken care of Cuong. My whole family lives off my low income from collecting and sorting waste. We are struggling to make ends meet. That’s why my grandson told me several times that he wanted to stop his studies to help me in my work”.

Thiên Anh Cuong (right) plays chess with his friends at boarding school.

Truong Thi Ân expresses her deepest thanks to Hà Thi Phuong Truc, her grandson’s Vietnamese teacher, who has visited her home many times to explain the importance of education and talk to her about the policies of support that Cuong can benefit from.

“We want to do the best for him”, says Hà Thi Phuong Truc, who has decided to move away from his own family to live at the boarding school and devote himself to his students. In order to transmit knowledge to students from minority ethnic groups in the most effective way possible, she constantly renews her way of teaching and seeks new methods.

Collective and extra-curricular activities are numerous.

Dedicated teachers

For English teacher Nguyên Mai Ngoc Huyên, her happiness is to see her students progress day by day: “Despite the difficulties, the progress I have seen is a great motivation for me to continue my efforts in this noble profession”.

“Now our school is not just for teaching Vietnamese, math, English, and science. We also provide secondary school students with the necessary skills, including the ability to work in a team, be responsible, develop projects and show initiative. We try to make the students succeed by promoting their personal resources and ensuring their development”underlines Trân Mai Thanh, deputy director of the boarding school for ethnic minorities in Ninh Phuoc.

Châu My Ky Duyên (left) and Kiêu Hông Thiên Ân like their boarding school for ethnic minorities in Ninh Phuoc.

In addition to traditional lessons, collective and extra-curricular activities are numerous and allow the transmission of important values ​​in a less formal and warm context. Students and parents are delighted.

“Staying at boarding school is a joy for me because school brings me love. We can also participate in really fun extra-curricular activities”enthuses Châu My Ky Duyên of class 9B.

“It’s my second home. Teachers are like second mothers. They are all caring and dedicated. And with my friends, we get along very well”adds Kiêu Hông Thiên Ân, student of class 6B.

Ngô Khanh, Vice Chairman of the Ninh Phuoc District People’s Committee.

Ngô Khanh, vice-president of the People’s Committee of the district of Ninh Phuoc, tells us that this coastal district, which has several municipalities and poor villages, attaches great importance to the education of ethnic minorities. In the future, it will continue to multiply the school-boarding school branches and to implement vernacular language teaching programs.

Text and photos: Phuong Nga/CVN

When the boarding school gives wings to children from ethnic minorities