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Stinky water forces students at Ho Chi Minh City elementary school to carry water to class

Stinky water forces students at Ho Chi Minh City elementary school to carry water to class

Wednesday, June 19, 2024, 19:05 GMT+7
Stinky water forces students at Ho Chi Minh City elementary school to carry water to class
A student carries a big bottle of water to Hanh Thong Elementary School in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City to drink due to foul-smelling water at school. Photo: Thanh Hiep / Tuoi Tre

Many parents of students at Hanh Thong Elementary School in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City have voiced their complaints that their children must bring bottles of water with them to the classroom due to the foul-smelling drinking water at school.

In the second half of May, several parents sent letters of complaints to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, lamenting that their children must carry five-liter bottles of water to school each day in the scorching weather.

“My child cannot drink water from the school’s water purification system, so he must carry a big bottle of drinking water from home to school every day,” said H., a parent of a student at Hanh Thong Elementary School.

Her child often shares the water with other classmates, according to H..

As of May, her child and a number of other students had been bringing water bottles with them to the school for eight months as they could not stand drinking the water at school because of its unpleasant smell.

“My child told me that the water [at school] was putrid,” H. recounted, adding that some parents moaned that their children got a stomach ache after drinking the alleged low-quality water.

A student is pictured carrying a bottle of water to Hanh Thong Primary School in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City to drink due to foul-smelling water at school in late May, 2024. Photo: Supplied

A student is pictured carrying a bottle of water to Hanh Thong Elementary School in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City to drink due to foul-smelling water at school in late May, 2024. Photo: Supplied

Many parents said that the school had installed a reverse osmosis (RO) water purification system provided by a firm in early October last year, but the parents were not informed about the installation and that their children would drink the water from the system.

After several parents opposed the school letting their children drink the water and asked the school management board to have samples of the water tested, the school and the firm conducted a test. However, no parents were involved in the testing process.

“The test of water quality was conducted by the school and the provider, while we could not supervise the process, so we cannot believe in the result,” a parent said.

Principal Le Thi Minh Hoa confirmed to Tuoi Tre that the school had installed an RO water filtration system before a meeting with parents for the 2023-24 school year. 

“During the previous academic years, the school used bottled water, but I saw that the bottled water was not safe," she explained.

“After referencing some information about a firm that provides water filtration systems, I decided to have it install the system at my school to supply students with purified water before the meeting with parents.”

Hoa added that before the installation, the company had tested the quality of water at school.

After some parents aired their complaints and disapproved of the water from the system, the school board and the firm continued to test the quality of the water. The latest test was done in March this year.

No parents joined the tests, she said.

The school discussed a plan on testing the water with some parents, but none of them took part in the process, said the school representative.

Trinh Vinh Thanh, head of the Education and Training Division in Go Vap District, mentioned that if parents did not approve of the purified water, students could continue to drink the bottled water they brought with them.

Thanh stated that the division had instructed the school board to gather feedback from parents regarding water provision before the start of the 2024-25 school year.

He clarified that if parents consent to their children drinking purified water from the installed filtration system, that will continue being provided. However, if parents object to this, students can use their own bottled water.

Thanh acknowledged that the school had violated existing regulations by not informing parents about the installation and the change in water provision for students.

A student drinks bottled water at Hanh Thong Primary School in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Supplied

A student drinks bottled water at Hanh Thong Elementary School in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Supplied

A student carries a heavy bottle of water to Hanh Thong Primary School in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City to drink due to foul-smelling water at school. Photo: Supplied

A student carries a heavy bottle of water to Hanh Thong Elementary School in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City to drink due to foul-smelling water at school. Photo: Supplied

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Tieu Bac - My Dung - Thanh Hiep / Tuoi Tre News

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