HCM CITY Lessons in life skills should be taught as a school subject to reduce the pressing problems of school violence and youth involvement in crime, education experts decided last week.
Phung Khac Binh, Student Affairs director for the Ministry of Education and Training, said more than 8,000 cases of adolescent crime had been reported in the past four years.
He added that the crimes were becoming more and more serious. They included more than 2,000 fighting incidents, 800 cases involving drugs, nearly 1,400 robberies, 1,000 cases of deliberate injury and about 100 murders.
At present, nearly 20,000 students throughout Viet Nam are reported to have dropped out of school and left home. Binh said they were at high risk of becoming involved in crime.
Statistics drawn from interviews with 500 students at six schools show that more than 32 per cent act disrespectfully towards their teachers and 38 per cent often use profane language.
Do Thi Hai, research vice-director at the Institute of Environment and Social Affairs, said the institute received about 4,000 hotline calls annually from students seeking help.
She said domestic violence, family conflicts, divorce and the lack of a caring family atmosphere were the main reasons young people went astray. Basically, they lacked the skills to solve the growing problems.
Figures compiled from 1,000 students in HCM City showed that more than 95 per cent knew little about life skills, but most wished they had an opprtunity to attend courses.
Vice director of Ha Noi s Nguyen Hue High School, Le Nguyen Huong, said the education sector focused on knowledge while neglecting social and life skills.
"Teachers at many schools seem to ignore teaching students about morality, responsibility and good behaviour and a few punish students for their mistakes," Huong said.
She added that even the lessons on life skills at most schools were impractical and boring for most students.
Hai from the Institute of Environment and Social Affairs Research suggested that the education ministry should build a programme on social and life skills and make it a compulsory part of the curriculum.
Huong said schools should organise more field trips and outdoor activities to attract students to the better things in life.
Lam Phuong Thanh, secretary of the Viet Nam Youth Union, said the union would try and strengthen activities that entertained and stimulated students to create a better environment for their development. VNS