Many parents in Vietnam have expressed their grave concern over the idea of their children joining a field trip, particularly with regard to their health and safety.
As they cannot rest assured even when their children are taken care of by teachers in charge, numerous parents have decided to accompany their kids on their field trips.
H.T.H’s child is a primary school student in Ho Chi Minh City. Once their class were taken on a field trip to Suoi Tien Theme Park, a decades-old entertainment zone located around 20km north east from downtown.
“I was wise to be there. It was hard to believe, but after lunch the kids were wandering around on really extensive grounds,” she confirmed.
“How can first graders be left alone like that? They’re not aware of dangers,” she added.
“The teachers were not looking after them but they were gossiping around. Fortunately nothing bad happened.”
N.T.P, another parent in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, said that her third-grader child went on a field trip to the Mekong Delta.
Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is a massive region to the south-west of Ho Chi Minh City, noticeable by the prevalence of rivers, canals and country life.
After the trip, the small child fell ill.
N.T.P later found out that the kid and their peers were taken to go swimming right after lunch in an open space swimming pool.
D.T.T in the central Vietnam’s province Quang Ngai experienced a similar experience.
The management of her child’s kindergarten planned a field trip to Sa Huynh beach, a popular seaside area in this region.
Torrential rain and chilly winds set in on the day, but the school stuck to their schedule.
The disturbed mother could not sigh a relief until the kid had gotten back home safe and sound.
Preparation is key
An experienced field trip organizer, Lam Hang Lam Thuy - principal of Nguyen Binh Khiem Primary School in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City - said: “Preparation work is key to ensuring safety for students.”
“Everybody from the teachers in charge, nannies to medical staff has to be proactive and well-prepared. Students need to be best protected and first of all, the destination needs to be safe enough,” she added.
“Before taking the kids, there needs to be a preliminary trip to find out more about the geographical features, environmental and climate conditions.”
According to this school principal, field trips are not mere fun days out, but have to involve students in practical experiences related to future work, like farming a rice field, netting fish, or making cakes.
“The teacher needs to see a field trip as a lesson,” she emphasized.
The principal went on to caution the overactiveness of little children when they are exposed to a new environment.
She said that kids tend to be become disobedient when they are taken to a new place, even though they can be rather well-behaved back at school.
Do Ngoc Chi - principal of Nguyen Thai Hoc Primary School in Ho Chi Minh City - highlighted that field trip organizers cannot completely rely on travel agencies regarding the quality of the trips and the safety of students.
According to her, even though travel agencies provide full packages including the preparation of materials and safety equipment, school teachers still have to keep watch.
“Schools should not take students of different grades on a field trip all together, but should divide them on different trips. For example, tenth-graders will go on one trip, and eleventh-graders another,” she added.
This, from her point of view, should release the burden on the people in charge and reduce any chance of risks.
“Parents should be encouraged to accompany their children, which should raise both the social interaction of the young students as well as their safety level,” Chi further commented.
Ho Hong Bao Tram - director of a Ho Chi Minh City-based educational service company which provides life skills training courses - underscored the importance of meticulous preparation.
“Teachers have to make sure students are aware of anti-injury skills before embarking on a field trip. Emergency and rescue procedures also have to be ready at all times during the trip.”