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Introducing a Vietnamese school that looks like a park

Tuesday, May 28, 2019, 19:22 GMT+7
Introducing a Vietnamese school that looks like a park
Students play in the schoolyard of Ky Xuan Elementary School, where many trees are grown, in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A campus of an elementary school in north-central Vietnam resembles a park with diverse plants and greenery rarely seen at any other school, giving the campus cool shade amid the sizzling temperatures of the coastal region.

Located in Ha Tinh Province, the school looks like a natural park in the middle of a poor region with harsh natural conditions which result in empty roads featuring almost no trees and vegetation, and boiling mercury.

The schoolyard of Ky Xuan Elementary School in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The schoolyard of Ky Xuan Elementary School in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

However, Ky Xuan Elementary School in Ky Anh Commune was not always one of the most beautiful places in the region, as its teachers, headmaster, and parents made a great effort to turn the campus into a pleasant area of 17,000 meters square amid the severe natural conditions the region endures.

The trees are not only grown in the schoolyard but also in every classroom, along the hallways and the library.

Ten years ago, when new headmaster Nguyen Thi Hoa Hue started her tenure at the school, it consisted of only a run-down cement building with 10 classrooms in the middle of a stranded and arid piece of land.

Situated 200 meters from the sea and having no shade trees, the school suffered from temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees Celsius.

Hence, Hue was determined to improve both the school’s facilities and its teaching quality so students would enjoy learning at it.

The schoolyard of Ky Xuan Elementary School in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The schoolyard of Ky Xuan Elementary School in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The headmaster’s utmost priority was to make the school a pleasant place for students, starting with growing shade trees on the campus.

Hue researched which trees could adapt to the poor soil conditions of the area, yet could provide shade to cool down the temperature in the schoolyard.

Lacking financial resources, the school teachers had to start asking for contributions from parents and other people living in the region.

“At first I was very shy because I did not know how locals here might react,” Hue said.

“Then I realized that it is only embarrassing if we ask for help for ourselves but in this case, we were raising funds for local children.

“We were investing in the future generations.”

The school received a lot of support from locals then.

Those who had the financial means contributed money, others brought trees they grew, and some even brought tractors to transport fertile soil to the schoolyard.

Even the plant businesses in the region gave the teachers considerable discounts so the school only paid around a tenth of the original price, allowing them to do more with the little money they had.

The parents whose children attend Ky Xuan Elementary School take care of the trees every day.

Nguyen Thi Hoa, one of such parents, waters trees at 10:00 am every morning as she says this is what every other parent does.

“I volunteer to do it but it is not tiring at all,” Hoa said.

“I come here in my free time to clean up, cut the grass, and water the trees.”

An aerial image of Ky Xuan Elementary School in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

An aerial image of Ky Xuan Elementary School in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Ha Tinh is one of the poorest provinces in Vietnam and many people there are still struggling to make ends meet, even though they are willing to help the school and contribute in every way they can.

“Locals used to be very poor, no streets were built, but everyone was willing to invest for the children,” headmaster Hue said.

The teachers and parents kept on improving Ky Xuan’s amenities, so it became a nationally standardized elementary school in the 2017-18 academic year, with an area of 17,000 meters square, instead of an original run-down building with a mere 10 classrooms.

A tree at Ky Xuan Elementary School in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A tree at Ky Xuan Elementary School in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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