Teachers in mountainous areas experience tough lives
  • By The Nam | | April 22, 2016 01:34 PM

Teachers in the mountainous province of Lai Chau’s Ta Mit Commune experience harsh conditions, including having to ford rivers or climb up narrow mountain paths to get food for their schools.


Two teachers carefully crossing a mountain path to Ta Mit Kindergarten

In order to go from the centre of Tan Uyen District to Ta Mit Kindergarten in Ta Mit Commune, the teachers have to spend VND100,000 to VND150,000 per person to travel on boat and then still have to walk across part of the river as the water level this season is too low. It takes two hours to cross the river and another hour on foot. But most dangerously, the teachers have to cross a steep cliff with an extremely small pass.

The path is so narrow that they can only walk in single-file along the cliff or else they will fall into the river below. Despite the danger, the teachers still have to go to the district centre to buy food and other necessities every week.


Clinging to the steep cliff

According to To Hong Diep, headmaster of Ta Mit Kindergarten, they had two schools at It Chom Village and Nam Khan Village with a total of 145 pupils. They are also teaching 145 primary pupils.

The teachers are from other provinces such as Son La and Phu Tho. Some of them are already married but their families live far away. They only visit their families during holidays and spend most of the years at school.

"The teachers have to travel 75km to buy food for the whole school for the next week. They start on Friday but can only return to school on Sunday," he said.


Teachers have to walk across a river to return to school

As part of the literacy programme for mountainous areas, the teachers have to stay for three years before they can get a transfer to another location. The government provides each pupil with VND6,000 a day while a teacher's monthly salary is VND5-7m (USD227-318).

"I want to share those pictures so that everyone has a more understanding about our situation and can sympathise with the difficulties teachers have to face, especially in remote areas like Ta Mit," Diep said.

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