Military school grants admission to strong-willed biker
Updated : 08/30/2012 12:12 GMT + 7
A military university will enroll a candidate who bicycled 300km to a national university entrance exam in July, following a decision issued Wednesday by the Minister of Defense.
Ngo Van Thuan, the lucky 18-year-old applicant, failed to get into the university of his choice, a Hanoi-based institution training ground force officers, but his score reached the standard set by another school in neighboring Vinh Phuc Province, which provides personnel for local tank and armored car units.
Military rules stipulate that Thuan will be granted an exemption from tuition together with a stipend during his stay at the school.
Thuan, from the central province of Nghe An, cycled from his hometown to Hanoi to take the university entrance exam, Vietnam’s method of selecting students for higher learning, to save money for his family.
Since he did not want his parents to borrow money at high interest for his travel to the capital, Thuan asked a friend to lend him a bicycle and departed four days before the exam, bringing with him only a pen, an outfit, and VND30,000 (US$1.5) in cash.
After not doing as well as he had hoped on the test, Thuan quickly returned to his hometown to continue helping his family battle poverty by learning to fix electronic fans during the day and catching eels at night for extra income.
The good news came as a real surprise to him yesterday as he thought he would have to work hard to save money for next year’s exam.
“I thought I was dreaming,” Thuan said. “I ran home immediately to break the news to my family, and we held each other crying then.”
His parents were shocked at the minister’s decision, saying it was more than a miracle.
“This is beyond our imagination, and what I really hope now is that Thuan will try his best at school in order not to disappoint everyone,” they said.
Nguyen Trong Mau, Thuan’s teacher, said he was good at math and physics in high school. A quiet student, Thuan is good-natured and ambitious, Mau added.
For now, the college enrollee is getting back to his daily work to save up in preparation for the new school year starting in early September.
“I won’t let people down,” he said.