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Schools near empty as freeze hits north

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:05 am




Schools near empty as freeze hits north


QĐND – Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 21:36 (GMT+7)

Primary schools and kindergartens in the capital are struggling to maintain normal operations during the current cold spell.


Hanoi’s schools saw massive student absences on Jan. 10 despite the temperature staying above the 10 degree Celsius benchmark, below which children are not required to attend primary schools and nurseries.


Trang An Kindergarten in Thanh Xuan district, for instance, welcomed only a quarter of its students. And Vu Thi Hang, a teacher at Hoa Tra My Kindergarten in Cau Giay district, said only half of her students had turned up.


Le Minh Khanh, the mother of an 8-year-old girl, said she still took her daughter to school although 27 of 50 children in the class had not shown up.


“It was very cold; I just wanted to let her stay home but unfortunately the weather forecast at 6.30am today said it was 11.3 degree Celsius, which meant she had to go,” she said.


Meanwhile, Nguyen Hoang Ha said he preferred to keep his 4-year-old son at home as the boy was already suffering from a cough caused by the weather.


Dinh Thuy Duong, principal of Thanh Xuan Trung Primary School, said almost one sixth of her students had not come to class on Jan. 10, a much higher than normal absentee rate but still lower than other schools in the area.


She said the students staying home would make it hard for teachers to keep up with the curriculum given that a new academic term had started.


Teachers would have to work more to help those absent children catch up with the rest of the class, she explained.


She also said that school activities had been adapted to minimise the effect of the current cold weather on children.


Changes included cancelling outdoor activities, turning on heaters, providing warm drinking water, and warm blankets and mattresses for children when taking naps, Duong said.


Nguyen Thi Dong, principal of Hoa Sen Kindergarten in Ba Dinh district, said her school was now serving meals that would give children more energy in the cold.


Hanoi ‘s Education and Training Department has also allowed schools to stay open later than usual in cold weather.


“I hope parents don’t panic. Children are being kept warm in class,” said Duong.


“Please trust us. Bring your children to school so that they won’t fall behind with their schoolwork.”


The Department’s office head Nguyen Hiep Thong said the 6.30am forecast were used to decide if children had to go to school.


While children at primary school and kindergarten level were not required to attend if their local day temperature fell below 10 degree Celsius, the benchmark for lower secondary school students was 7 degree Celsius.


However schools had to take care of students who still turned up despite temperatures lower than these benchmarks, said Thong.


“It is a good, flexible decision as not all parents can afford to have their children at home. They still have to go to work no matter how cold it is,” said Khanh.


The temperature on the peak of Mau Son mountain in the northern province of Lang Son dipped to -1 degree Celsius on Jan. 10 morning, the lowest this winter, while temperatures in other northern provinces were between 1 and 11 degrees Celsius after the arrival of a new cold spell on Jan. 9.


Meteorologists said another cold spell was going to northern Vietnam on Jan. 11, keeping temperatures low.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

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