Enthusiastic teachers bring education to ethnic students in mountainous areas
  • | Vietnamplus, | February 25, 2015 10:47 AM

Nguyen Thi Lan volunteered to work as a teacher in remote northern Yen Bai Province after she graduated in 2007, and she is still there, working with ethnic minority students and working to convince villagers of the importance of education for their children.

Lan teaches at Hang Tau, one of the schools at Tuc Dan Commune in Tram Tau District.

 Children from Hang Tau Highlands Village going to school

“When I first came here, there was no electricity or phones," Lan said. “I really felt lonely and homesick as I had no friends and relatives around me. I could do nothing but reassure myself that everything would be alright.

"I gradually got used to the new life and all of my attention is focused on teaching my students," she said.

Thao A Tang, chairman of the commune's People’s Committee, said, “If teachers were not enthusiastic and did not love their students, they would not stay long."

Most families in Hang Tau, ethnic Mong, are reluctant to expend time or money on educating their children, especially girls.

Lan regularly visits families to persuade parents to send their children to school. She said some took a lot of persuading, and she sometimes had to live with them, picking bamboo shoots in the forest or catching fish to convince them of her sincerity.

The Hang Tau school now has 56 students.

“Many students just have one set of clothes for all activities, including going to school, working in the forest or to wear at home," Lan said. "The clothes aren't warm so some suffer when it gets cold."

Tran Thi Len, from northern Son La Province was assigned to teach at the Hang Tau school after she graduated, and she set about learning the Mong's language, and local customs and habits so she could better teach the children and understand their parents.

Lan, Len and other teachers have compiled a language dictionary to help students preserve their own culture while integrating into that of a wider Vietnam.


A teacher besides her students at Hang Tau

“I want to become a teacher when I grow up in order to follow up our teachers to bring education to Mong ethnic people so they can have better lives,” said Thao Thi Tong, one of the students at Hang Tau.

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