Teachers provide free lunch for students to fight dropouts

To help students who are living far away from schools, teachers in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum’s Tu Mo Rong District have provided free lunches and shelter for students to sleep so that they don’t need to return home. As a result, the dropout rate in this highland district has decreased significantly.


Teachers provide free lunch for students to fight dropouts ảnh 1 Teachers provide free lunch for students in Dak Ha Primary School
When it was first established, Tu Mo Rong was an especially difficult mountainous district with a population of over 27,000 people including over 95 percent of ethnic minorities mainly the Xo Dang ethnic minority group. This is a high mountain area with complex terrain, often divided in the rainy season, and a harsh climate; worse, inhabitants usually suffer natural disasters.
Moreover, socio-economic infrastructure has not been developed, especially rural transportation is extremely difficult. In the rainy and stormy season, landslides often occur; so, it is hard for students to travel to schools; plus, parents are not interested in their children's education.
Furthermore, students go to school in the morning, return home for lunch, and they frequently skip school in the afternoon. When students are absent, teachers have to come down to their houses to encourage parents to send their children to school.
To solve the problem that students skip school in the afternoon, the People's Committee of Tu Mo Rong district has directed the Department of Education and Training to coordinate with schools to mobilize resources to cook free lunches for students for the past two years.
Over the past time, in addition to teaching in classes, teachers in Dak Ha Commune Primary School in Tu Mo Rong District jointly cooked lunches for 63 non-boarding students hailing from the Ty Tu village. After finishing the morning teaching time, the two teachers of Dak Ha Commune Primary School drove 5km to the main school to get food and then returned to the school in Ty Tu village to give meals to 63 students. Until all students fall asleep, teachers can rest assured to make instant noodles to eat.
While she was eating, teacher Nguyen Duong Quy of class 2A3 said that although the work was hard, the school teachers were very happy that no students were absent from school like before. When the school started cooking meals for students, teachers were willing not to have lunch breaks to prepare meals, and wash dishes for the children.
Second grader Y Phuong said that every morning when she goes to school, her mother puts a lunch box in her school bag. At lunchtime, a teacher will give her food including fish, soup, and meat. The food is very good. After eating, she can sleep at school to continue studying in the afternoon, not having to walk home to have lunch like before. She expressed her gratitude to teachers wanting the school to continue to cook free meals for students.
Ms. Ho Thi Thuy Van, Principal of Dak Ha Primary School, said that from the fact that students are absent from school in the afternoon because they are far from home when the district calls for mobilizing resources to cook free lunches for students, teachers all agreed to cook lunches for 63 students at the school.
Teachers and philanthropists have joined hands to buy food for students. Since the school cooks for free, students at the school in Ty Tu village go to school more diligently. In the near future, the school will continue calling for social contributions from benefactors for maintaining this free cooking activity.
Vo Trung Manh, Chairman of Tu Mo Rong District People's Committee, informed that when the district launched the program of free lunch for students, most schools in the district participated in many forms. Parents in many schools agreed to donate rice, schools provide food, and teachers cook food. Some schools have called for social contributions, or teachers have contributed. The effectiveness of this model has been brought into play, the rate of students dropping out of school has decreased significantly, and their learning quality has also been improved.

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