Dedicated headmaster in poor central highlands commune
  • By Thien Thu | | May 26, 2014 08:30 AM

A headmaster in a remote district of the Central Highlands Province of Gia Lai has won the respect of the local community for for personally borrowing hundreds of millions of VND to build a school.

Mr. Pham Quoc Tuan is the headmaster of a boarding school named Dak Rong Primary in Dak Rong Commune, Kbang District. The school was also built with the help of contributions from teachers and parents.


Bonsai trees in Dak Rong Primary schoolyard 

Before the upgrade, Dak Rong Primary School only had ten classrooms and five rooms for teachers. It was located in an isolated area in the mountains and served around 300 students, only 20 of which were able to read.

Five out of the 15 villages the school served are more than 20km from the school, discouraging students from attending. Tuan had an especially difficult task getting students to class because the facilities were so poor.

The first problem he identified with the poor attendance rate was that many parents did not feel comfortable sending their children on such a long trip by themselves or with strangers. Tuan reached out to village elders and other local authorities to try to convince parents of the importance of their children's education.



Students from poor families who live far from the school were given support of VND640,000 (USD30.5) for food each month they came to school. Tuan also called on each teacher to contribute between VBD300,000 and VND400,000 to build a dining hall for students.

He proposed that the district Department of Education and Training support the school to build extra rooms to serve for boarding students who lived too far to commute every day. The proposal was approved and the project was started. Tuan also took out personal loans from relatives to purchase new equipment.

In order to construct toilet facilities for the students, he called on donations from parents.

The final upgrade was a meeting room, a corridor to shade the student from the sun and a cultural house. In total, Tuan ended up borrowing VND300 million (USD14,285) to complete the refurbished school.


Corridor to shade students

“I will try my best for these students and take responsibility for my actions. But, you know, I do hope to receive further donations for the school development,” he added.

Tuan’s efforts have won him the support and respect of teachers and parents in the surrounding communities. Currently, attendance is on the rise, largely due to the attractiveness of the new facilities.

One student said, “At school, I can meet friends and play in an open space. I can also watch TV. They also teach us how to dance and sing!"

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