Rising expectations from parents and teachers have increased pressure on students and fueled depression and anxiety disorders, psychologists concurred at a seminar in Hanoi this week.
Several surveys released at the event held on August 14-15 by the University of Education showed that basic education students (grade 1-12) are under significant pressure to bring home good marks.
A survey of 1,727 secondary school students found that nearly 26 percent suffer mental problems.
Pham Van Tu, the lead researcher of the survey conducted by the Hanoi University of Education, said 76 of 200 students at the Trung Chinh Secondary School in Bac Ninh Province said they have been involved in incidents at school.
“Failing to control their temper, many were willing to provoke others for minor or sometimes nonsensical reasons,” he said.
Another survey conducted by the Hue University found 80 percent of 160 students in the 12th grade at the Hue National School reported suffering relatively high levels of stress.
Almost all respondents said they frequently study and work on their days off. Nearly 20 percent said that studying caused them to skip meals, physical exercises and periods or rest and relaxation.
Up to 53 percent said they only talk about studying at gatherings with friends and relatives.
According to Psychologist Nguyen Van Nam of the Ho Chi Minh City University of University, school pressure can lead to depressions and other mental disorders, which have become more common among children aged 6-11 in big cities.
Dr Truong Quoc Cuong of the HCMC Children's Hospital 2 said primary students are also suffering rising levels of stress.
“They sometimes suffer psychological trauma from parental quarrels, fears that their parents do not love them, corporal punishments meted out by teachers and friends and being forced to eat,” Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper quoted him as saying.
“However, they've started suffering new kinds of stress recently because of high expectations from parents who want to make them outstanding students by forcing them to attend multiple tutoring sessions,” he said adding that many children, especially in downtown HCMC, have to wake up from 6 a.m. and study from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Many children only get home at 8 p.m. after tutoring sessions and have to study at weekends, he said.
“If the adults do not pay attention and take timely preventive measures, children can easily suffer psychological trauma which can gradually lead to mental problems,” he said.