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Vietnam elementary schools teach students housework to improve life skills

Thursday, March 05, 2015, 15:32 GMT+7

Elementary schools in Ho Chi Minh City have used housework tasks to teach their urban students to improve their life skills.

>> An audio version of the story is available here

Most students living in the city have always been taken good care of by their parents so many of them do not know how to do the housework, or even how to look after themselves.

Nguyen Duc Canh Elementary School in District 5 has organized events featuring housework practice like house cleaning for its students who have no idea how to do the housework.

At an event titled “Day for Practicing Social Skills” held late last month, 195 participating fifth graders of the school learned how to sweep and clean a house.

Pham Thuy Linh, principal of the school, said the organizer hoped to teach students life skills, starting from the most basic and practical things in life.

“Students nowadays are taken care of very carefully by their parents,” she said. “Parents or housemaids do everything at home, nursemaids care for them at school.”

The task, which was believed to be very simple to many people, was a strange mission to many students since a number said they had never touched a broom at home.

“My parents always do the housework so I have never had to clean the house,” Le Dan Vy, a student from Class 5/3, admitted. “Doing this makes me love my parents more because I understood what they have to do every day besides working to earn a living.”

“I promised to myself that I will help my parents with the housework and will never litter.”

A number of schoolgirls admitted that they have never even had to tie their hair because they have their mothers or school nursemaids do it for them.

Also, some other students had trouble tying their shoelaces.

Meanwhile, after learning how to fold clothes, Nguyen Ngoc Tram, a student from class 5/3, told herself to help her mother with the task.

“It’s kind of simple,” she expressed.

Gardening is fun

In late January, numerous students from Nguyen Binh Khiem Elementary School joined a fair where they sold fresh agricultural products grown on their own after a month.

Le Thi Ngoc Diep, the school principal, said in recent years the school has organized field trips for students to visit vegetable gardens in the city so that they could get used to gardening.

“In the academic year of 2014-2015, our school has started to put into operation a new block with a nearly-400-square-meter rooftop,” she said. “We made the place a rooftop garden with financial support from parents.”

The garden has provided two seasons of vegetables and brought in more than VND 20 million (US$932) from selling them for the school.

“The money will be kept for growing more vegetables,” she added.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Cam, a school teacher, said she was surprised to see her students so passionate about their job.

“I thought that my urban students would not be willing to farm,” Cam said. “Though our school gives the students gloves to protect and keep their hands clean while working with soil, some students even take them off to do their job more easily.”

“Many students volunteer to water the vegetables in the morning so wholeheartedly that some of them even skip breakfast.”

According to Cam, growing the plants together has helped the students improve their friendship and teamwork skills, as well as made them more responsible for what they are doing and respect the money they earn by themselves.

Moreover, gardening also works in the field of adjusting students’ eating habits.

“Though they know vegetables are healthy, students do not want to eat them,” a nursemaid working at the school said. “This year, many students said they have understood how hard it is to make a bowl of vegetable soup so they will not waste the food anymore.”

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