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Education Ministry warns of high percentage of students with mental health problems

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Educators and adults have finally begun paying more attention to school counseling needs after reports of a number of suicides of students.

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Mr Bui Van Linh from MOET's Students' Affairs Department


The public was stunned by the suicide of a 16-year-old student at the Nguyen Khuyen High School in HCM City. According to his note that he left before killing himself, the boy said he felt pressure from his family.

However, he was a very good student with the GPA of 8.9, according to the school’s headmaster Le Trong Tin. But hisparents still wanted him to obtain higher achievements.

The Ministry of Education & Training (MOET) has released a report showing that 80 percent of students said they have problems and want to have private space in school to speak out and find solutions to their problems.

The data was gathered from a survey conducted by the ministry in Hanoi and Hai Duong province.

A study by the University of Education under the Hanoi National University in seven northern provinces found that 20 percent of students have mental health problems that need treatment.

According to Bui Van Linh from MOET’s Students’ Affairs Department, if each secondary or high school needed five counselors, Vietnam would need 70,000 counselors for 14,000 schools in the next two to three years.

MOET wants at least 90 percent of high schools, intermediate school (2-year training), junior colleges (3-year training) and universities to have counseling divisions.

The ministry’s Circular 31 says that every grammar school must have one counseling division headed by a headmaster or deputy headmaster. The division must include three to seven members with certificates in psychological counseling.

Emphasizing the importance of the counseling divisions, Linh said Vietnamese youth now are facing significant challenges and need timely support.

“We have to learn lessons from South Korea and Japan which have high numbers of young people suffering from depression and committing suicide,” he said. 

However, a high school teacher in Hanoi warned that training 70,000 counselors within a short time would be a very difficult task. At present, ‘counselors’ at schools are mostly teachers of social sciences and officers of the administration division.

Nguyen Duc Huy, vice rector of the University of Education, admitted that the school doesn’t have counseling experts and most counselors are lecturers from Law, Psychology, Philology, History and Geography faculties. 

Some officers of the Students’ Affairs Division, the Youth Union and Students’ Association also are joining the counseling team.

Tran Thanh Nam, a renowned education expert, said that teachers are not in the position to act as counselors because the latter need to be independent from teachers and the leadership of schools.



Source: VietNamNet

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