VietNam – Summer vacation, no further study

When my eldest child had just finished a month-long extracurricular football class with his classmates at school, I sent them home to play with their grandparents after a year of mostly online learning due to the covid-19 pandemic.

One evening, the daughter called and boasted to her mother: “I went to practice art with the brothers and sisters in the neighborhood. I’m tired of my feet, Mom.” Even though he said he was sweating every day and was a little sad because he didn’t get to perform because he hadn’t done enough summer shows, I felt his excitement and joy when he became part of the collective activity during his days away from the school.

My daughter’s story reminds me of my own memories of my teenage years with my parents. More than 30 years ago, my friends and I were a few years younger and participated in the same summer activities program. I still remember the evenings when boys and girls in the village gathered at the village cultural house to practice exercises and dances to sing in unison, under the guidance of the brothers and sisters in the youth union. The end of the period is a competition for all the team in the whole commune and a fun festival salty party.

My memories of summer vacations as a child were completely devoid of further study sessions, except for the summer of my senior year of secondary school exams to high school. I’m also glad that the summer program has been around for so long, I don’t know exactly how many years, but it has been since I was very young, still maintained to this day and its meaning has not changed. Back then, every year we and I participated in such summer activities, and every year we were eager, looking forward.

Meanwhile, on the online groups of the neighborhood I live in in Hanoi, as soon as the official school year has just ended, I have seen information about the opening of summer knowledge review classes at all ages, even pre-primary. Every family has different circumstances and I understand many parents see sending their children to such review classes as a way to help babysit. Some parents told me to go to school for fear of forgetting my knowledge during the long summer vacation.

In fact, many children in today’s cities don’t have the 3 months of summer as theoretically. Some private schools in Hanoi even give students a single summer vacation of one month – July. Many schools start the new school year at the beginning of August. It is not uncommon for 6-year-olds to practice pre-primary school throughout the summer. Many students prepare to enter secondary school from the summer of grade 3, grade 4.

Meanwhile, an acquaintance of mine living in the U.S. wrote on Facebook that his child’s “assignment” during the summer holidays was to read some of the books suggested by the teacher and write comments about them. A friend who also lives in the US shared that her child learns gently (high school), rarely has homework. Take a break from summer, not learn anything else.

Sharing from France, a Vietnamese mother said that children in France on summer vacation are literally summer vacations, if they study, they only learn skills, most of them sports. If you don’t have time to send your kids to summer sports camps, then the whole family will spend time on vacation together.

“Schools and cultural houses are closed, except for places that send seasonal children on vacation if parents have to go to work. But it’s also coming to have fun, not to learn more culture. If you want to learn culture, there is no place to study. It’s not open, no one’s teaching,” she joked.

Summer is the most suitable time to be active, have fun, physical activity. With the development of medicine, many mothers do not regret the money to buy drugs to increase the height of their children but forget that movement is a very important factor to help children develop comprehensively. Children and adolescents need to be given the best conditions by their families and society to be active and develop both physically and mentally.

According to the results of the Nutrition Census 2019-2020 published in April 2021, the average height of young men in Vietnam is 168.1cm, female is 156.2cm. The average height of Vietnamese people has improved over the years, but remains low compared to the average height in the world: 177cm for men and 163.7cm for women, and significantly lower than for countries such as China, Japan, South Korea.

We always exhort “Reduce the pressure of exams, study”, “Prevent drowning” but have we really acted aggressively enough to solve those dilemmas? I highly appreciate the residential areas that have organized useful summer activities such as singing dance classes, dancesport, learning to be an MC, chess, basketball, swimming, drawing … The role of the youth union, students is very important in the summer, is the core force to implement community activities to play, useful for children.

A child who is healthy and full of energy, living at the right age is the most wonderful thing. The pressure on young children is created by adults, which are the expectations that parents place on their children. To do anything, you must first have health. “Having health is having it all.” That’s always true, for every age, every time, every country.

Author: Bui Then graduated with a major in English, Hanoi University; joined The Tri newspaper in 2006 and now monitors international news, defense security and foreign affairs.

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