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14/10/2019 - 08:14

"Champion on School Safety”

Phu Mau Primary School (Phu Vang - a coastal plain and lagoon district of Thua Thien Hue Province) is the only school in Vietnam to be honored with the "Champion on ASEAN School Safety 2019”

Extracurricular activities at Phu Mau Primary School

Phu Mau has low-lying terrain, many canals, ditches, and rivers; the people's life remains very difficult. The new (present) site of Phu Mau Primary School was built in 2008.

By 2013, the school had only a temporary fence ahead. The bike-shed was also very impermanent. The green trees were very few. The school yard which was once the field is rugged and low.

The outside roads and school yard turned into rivers in floods. Struggling to earn their living, most parents paid little attention to the school's educational activities. With the thought of teaching their children being the teachers’ job, parents left the whole educational work to the school.

“It was necessary to overcome the above disadvantages and difficulties to provide students with a safe space and environment in the learning process, skills to prevent and control natural disasters. Those were what the leadership and school staff were concerned for and determined to carry out,” Nguyen Thi Kim Hue, Principal of Phu Mau Primary School, started the story.

In the 2013-2014 school year, Phu Mau Primary School was offered the opportunity to be one of the five schools in the province, which had access to and joined in the project "Education for Sustainable Development" organized by UNESCO in concert with the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), Samsung Company and implemented by the Department of Education and Training.

With the support of the project, not only teachers and students but also the commune’s authorities, mass organizations, and parents could receive training, support and knowledge. Afterwards, they worked together to check, discuss, identify the environmental locations and landscapes, draw unsafe zone maps inside and outside the school, and develop the safe school plan.

Along with the annual funding source of the State, the support of the local authorities, the school encourages the parents, sponsors to join hands. From a row of 10 classrooms on the campus with many unsafe pits, barbed far the school has had 30 classrooms, a friendly library, a semi-boarding kitchen, a school yard, a bike-shed, and a firm fence. Also, the school has collected waste according to the regulations, planted more than 100 trees in and around the campus and built a herbal medicine garden...

Concurrently, the school asked all teachers and students to take care of the bonsai pots and flower pots arranged along the walkways and hung along the corridors to create "green corridors" and colorful "childhood flower walkways."

In mid-2015, with the support of the Center for Self-reliance Promotion, NAV, Hue Help, local authorities and the student parents’ cooperation, the school implemented the swimming teaching project for students in 4th and 5th grades in the open water of Phu Mau.

Phu Mau is an area suffering many natural disasters, floods prone to drowning, so teaching swimming and drowning rescue skills to children is what the school teachers are always concerned about. So, even though this project was over, from 2016 up to now, teaching swimming to children has been continued. Each year, about 100 students are taught to swim.

Many delegates from the countries attending the 3rd  ASEAN Regional School Safety Conference 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand, asked why teaching swimming to students was not carried out at the pool but in the open water (on the river).

The Principal explained to the world friends. With the specific terrain of Phu Mau, in the rainy season, the home yards, school yard… can "turn into” a vast sea of ​​water. Swimming in open water is a way for the school, authorities and parents to train the children confidence and skills of rescuing themselves or helping others in disasters.

The representative of a "small" primary school in Vietnam also told the friends from other countries that the medicinal herb garden or friendly library (with a stage for students to practice and train to prevent natural disasters) also lies in the plan to build a safe school the school has implemented and developed recently. Because the children want to have good knowledge and practice about disaster prevention, they definitely have to go to the library.

Or with the practical knowledge from the medicinal herb garden, they will know the uses, know how to use medicinal herbs familiar to life and how to take care of their health ... The shared knowledge is welcomed by their friends.

"When doing everything to build a safe school, and to equip students with skills of preventing natural disasters, we did not think of the championship, but only of the responsibility for the students," Principal Nguyen Thi Kim Hue said. “I also learned a lot from the friends at the ASEAN region conference mentioned above.”

In the coming time, when implementing the topics on the "children's rights" and " school violence prevention", the school will invite students to sit at the presidential table, let them voice their opinions, and together with the school, build a more effective and safe school.

According to Le Dinh Phong, Head of Education and Training Division of Phu Vang District, Phu Mau Primary School's effort in building a "safe school" is very proud and is a "driving force" for the schools in the district to make further efforts to expand this model.

Story and photo: Quynh Anh