Tragedies after the university dream - 5 July 2013 - ENGLISH - 4 -STUDY BY MR. DANG THANH TAM
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Main » 2013 » Tháng 7 » 5 » Tragedies after the university dream
10:15 AM
Tragedies after the university dream
VietNamNet Bridge – Hamlet 5, An Xuyen commune, Ca Mau city - where Mrs. Nguyen Thi My Nhan hung herself after failing to borrow VND4 million ($200) to pay tuition for her son, schools have boards noting: "Education is the way to get out of poverty." 
In Ca Mau alone and in the Mekong Delta, everywhere you can see that slogan or "Learning is the way to change fate." Ironically, in this land, there have been those who get poorer or suffer from their children's education... 
Life isn’t like a dream 
"Learning is the way to change fate" is the slogan on this board. There are many such boards in Ca Mau. 
Nearly three months after the death of Mrs. My Nhan, Tran Tien Anh – a 3rd year student of the Cuu Long Mechanical Engineering University (Vinh Long province), the son of Mrs. Nguyen Thi Tung, in Tan Xuyen Ward, Ca Mau City, who once committed suicide because she could not pay debts, was still worried for his mother. 
"From that day my sister and I called our mum every night to comfort her. I'm afraid that my mum will do the foolish act like Mrs. Nhan," Tien Anh said. 
Tien Anh’s mother has become a big debtor after her daughter and her son entered the college. Creditors usually came to her house to claim their money back. Failing to take the money, they insulted the woman. 
Tien Anh can be considered a typical example of the "movement" of learning to escape poverty in Ca Mau in particular and the Mekong Delta in general. 
Graduating from high school, Tien Anh passed the entrance exams to the University of Business Administration in Can Tho, but he had to join the army because his family could not support his study. 
Returning from military service, Tien Anh applied for several jobs but he was refused because he did not have a degree, money or relations. He had to choose between going to the college or becoming a building worker like his elder brother. And he chose to go to school. 
Tien Anh said: "Every night I thought of my mum’s situation at home. I was very sad but I did not know how to help her. In my family, there are two examples. My brother could not go to school so he becomes a construction worker. He is so poor that his wife could not stand. She gave her child to my mum and returned to her home. My sister graduated from the teacher training college. She has got a job in Ho Chi Minh City. She is not rich but certainly she will never be poor. So I’m determined to study to get out of poverty and to change my life..." 
"In the Mekong Delta, there are dozens and hundreds of people who came from poor families like me but they were determined to go to school, to study to become talents and the mainstay of the country such as Prof. Dr. Vo Tong Xuan or late Dr. Luong Dinh Cua - the leading agricultural scientists of Vietnam ... They are the shining examples for people like me to follow," he added. 
But sometimes life is not like dreams. Between the banner "Learning is the way to get out of poverty" in front of school gates and the real life is a huge gap. 
Both Mr. Do Van Nghiep - Vice Chairman of the Education Promotion Association of Ca Mau Province and Mr. Nguyen Tien Hai - Vice Chairman of Ca Mau Province said the case like Mrs. My Nhan is very rare in Ca Mau. 
They also confirmed that the local government has well implemented study encouragement movements and supported poor families to send their children to school. "We also feel guilty for the death of Mrs. Nhan,” Nghiep added. 
But where the local authorities were when Mrs. Tung tried her best to seek a certificate for the poor family in order to borrow banking loans to support her children’s study? How about other Mrs. Tung in the Mekong Delta who have not been discovered by the media? 
Let life resolve itself? 
How to help poor children to enter the college? Mr. Pham Nhat Vu Ho – a reporter of Lao Dong Newspaper in Bac Lieu province – one of the typical victims of the prejudice "if you’re poor, not trying to send your kids to university," - replied: "Let life resolve itself." And he took his life story as an example. 
Photo: In the Mekong Delta, there are many boards like this but the reality is not as "slogans." 
Ho was born and grew up in Long Dien Dong A commune, Dong Hai district, Bac Lieu province. In 1994, he was the first ever student in the commune who passed the entrance exam to the Can Tho University’s History Teacher Training Faculty. 
"I studied in Can Tho University for a year but in my hometown, people still did not believe. They said my parents telling lie. They said I worked as a building worker in Can Tho but my parents told their neighbors that I was a college student. They only believed that I was a university student until another student in my commune passed the entrance exams to the University of Can Tho and saw me at the school.” 
Ho continued: "My family was extremely poor. My parents used to be in the similar circumstances like Mrs. My Nhan or Mrs. Tung. But it is lucky for me that my father had a vision. Despite difficulty, he was determined to support our study with the reason: If you have knowledge in your head, even you are a farmer or a shrimp breeder, you will do better than those without knowledge." 
Ho graduated from the college and became a reporter. He had stable income and bought a house in Bac Lieu City. He is not rich but his life has changed compared with his friends who are now farmers at home. The attitude of the villagers immediately swung for 180 degrees, from speaking scornfully of Ho’s parents to praising them. Ho suddenly becomes a shining example to children in his hometown. Locals told each other: "Mr. Ba (Ho’s father) did the absurd but it is good now." 
Then they told their children to learn from Ho. And Ho is not a bad example. After nearly 20 years since Ho became the first university student in his commune, the commune has had over 40 university students. That number shows impressive changes. The result is the good explanation for Ho’s thought "Let life resolve itself.” 
But is it probable to let’s the life solve that big issue? What about the role of local governments at all levels and the study encouragement associations? 
Mr. Nguyen Tien Hai - Vice Chairman of Ca Mau Province - replied: "Ca Mau provincial government has cooperated with relevant agencies to persuade people to change their perception from forcing their children to work to sending them to school to change their fate." However, Hai acknowledged that the result is not very good. 
Lao Dong
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