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Kids relocated to warehouse as school deteriorates

Kids relocated to warehouse as school deteriorates

Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 17:15 GMT+7

Hundreds of elementary school students in central Vietnam have had to study in a warehouse of an agricultural cooperative for more than a year, as their decades-old school is deteriorating so badly that a local education official warns of dangers to both the learners and teachers.

Over 200 students enrolled at Hoai Nhon Elementary School, located in Ninh Thuan Province, are studying in the warehouse of the Hoai Nhon Agricultural Cooperative close to its campus, Van Thi Dieu Thoa, school principal, said.

“They have been there for more than a year,” Hoa added.

Ninh Thuan lawmakers and education ministry officials required in a recent visit that the school be demolished since it is in an extremely dilapidated condition, and thus poses life-threatening risks to the students and teachers there.

Thoa said that the school has become flea-bitten during the past five years, with the roof leaking, tiles going broken, wooden poles and beams turning rotted, and walls already starting to crack.

“I keep asking the local education board for a renovation every year but upgrading has been done on only three of the six classrooms so far,” she said. “The other three have been closed down because no repair work was possible.”

The Hoai Nhon students are struggling in the two cramped and damp rooms at the warehouse that fails to block noise from workers drying rice on the other side of the walls.

The school was built forty years ago, Nguyen Ba Ninh, director of the provincial Department of Education and Training, said, adding that the students and teachers would risk their lives if they continued staying in the ratty classrooms.

His department has asked for permission from the local government to raise money from 10,000 educators in Ninh Thuan to construct a new school at the same site, Ninh said.

The director noted that a further VND2.9 billion (US$137,000) is now needed since the educators will possibly be able to contribute a mere VND1.6 billion ($75,700) out of the 4.5 billion ($212,700) estimated construction cost.

The chairman of the Ninh Thuan People’s Committee, Tran Xuan Hoa, has pledged support for the fundraising drive.

At least three other schools suffer serious deterioration and need repairing but finance is now a difficulty, Hoa said.

Tuoi Tre

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