A black hole in our education

TN News

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Failure is a stepping stone to success, they say.

But it seems someone, or everyone, forgot to tell this to Vietnamese students.

And because of this failure on part of the adults, the youth are not learning some of the most important lessons in life.

The public was stirred by a news report last week about a twelfth-grader who committed suicide because he did not do well in the university entrance exams held early this month.

Trinh Cong Sy, a student who majored in mathematics from Le Khiet High School for the Gifted in the central province of Quang Ngai, left a message: "My life basically doesn't have any joy; now, after failing the university exams, I don't dare to face tomorrow. I'm sorry..."

The 18-year-old boy, known for his good academic performance in Phu Lam Tay Village, killed himself by swallowing pesticides on July 11.

Despite the incident's huge effects on the public who are voicing their sorrow about Sy's death, and despite concerns over the great pressure that Vietnamese students come under during exams, such suicides are not exactly unknown in Vietnam.

Last month, after the high school graduation exams' results were announced, another twelfth-grader in the southern province of Dong Nai committed suicide upon knowing that he'd failed.

There have been sporadic reports over many years now about a student killing herself or himself because of bad performances in exams. This has also been a phenomenon of concern in countries like Japan.

Experts say it's a matter of fact that the youth are under much pressure from peers and from people surrounding them when academic performance is involved.

Parents and teachers demand that students study hard and score high marks in exams, which later turns into pressure that students place on themselves, psychologist Dinh Phuong Duy told the Tuoi Tre newspaper.

However, adults have forgotten to teach students who, as human beings and young people, are subject to make mistakes, how to accept and deal with defeat before asking them to succeed.

How to learn from bad experiences and how to stand up and go forward after failures are important lessons that have to be learnt when people are young.

But these lessons are nowhere to be found in the Vietnamese education system.

Lessons about how to live responsibly with themselves and with others do not receive the attention compared to subjects like mathematics and literature. In fact, if students were fully aware of the importance of their lives, they wouldn't turn to suicide as a solution when facing problems, like Sy did.

This huge hole in our education system should be recognized and fixed properly, or students will always lack perspective when they find themselves stuck in a difficult, or not-so-difficult situation.

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