VietNamNet Bridge – “What are you doing?”, “How are you?” – the English words have been resounded every night not from a foreign language center, but the small temples in HCM City and Thua Thien-Hue province.
The free foreign language center in HCM City
The English word pronunciation has become so popular to the people, who live near the La Temple, located on a small alley in HCM City. A foreign language center has been run here for the last three years, welcoming all the poor students.
In 2009, the monks at the temple decided to reserve a part of the temple’s area to build a free foreign language class for the poor, which is the predecessor the current foreign language center.
At first, there was only one English class, which gathered 30 learners. Meanwhile, there are now 22 classes for the poor students to learn different languages, from English, Chinese, to Japanese, French and German with 700 learners. Meanwhile, the number of learners has been increasing every day.
The learners here are mostly the poor students from other provinces, who come to HCM City from the countryside. Many of them have to work hard every day to learn their living. However, the hard works still cannot help them earn enough money to learn foreign languages, though they know foreign language skills are very necessary in their future jobs.
Therefore, the foreign language center has been welcomed by students. Many of them have rent rooms near the temple so as to be able to go to the classes every evening. Meanwhile, the students in districts 9 and Thu Duc take bus to the temple.
The temple’s area is small, which explains why the area for classroom is modest, just 30 square meters. As there are too many students registering to follow the study, the monks have to arrange different learning shifts every day. Feeling sorry for the poor students, the temple’s presiding monk decided to move to a small room, giving his bedroom to students to use as a classroom.
As such, there are two classrooms at the temple, which open every day from 7.30 am to 10 pm. The classes always get overcrowded on weekend. The teaching and learning aids have been provided by the monks, who bring old tables and chairs thrown away by schools, repair them for the poor students.
The temple – the organizer of foreign language classes, does not collect tuitions from the poor students. Meanwhile, it has to pay 35-40 million dong a month to teachers. The sum of money proves to be very small if compared with the income of 10 teachers, but is really a big sum of money for the four monks. In order to earn money to pay the teachers, the monks have to earn money by writing calligraphy for clients, trading geomancy stones or use the money pilgrims contribute to the pagoda.
The “class of love” in Thua Thien-Hue
Monk Thich Chon Huu at Dinh Quang Pagoda in Huong Thuy district of Thua Hien-Hue decided to open a foreign language class, simply because he wants the poor children in the locality to have some foreign language skills to earn their living when they grow up.
In the poor locality, most of the children only finish the ninth grade when they leave the countryside for HCM City to look for jobs. A lot of them become corrupted. Therefore, the monk believes that he needs to do something to help them to grow into useful citizens in the society.
However, the monk met too many difficulties on the first days of the “class of love”. At first, the class gathered 10 learners, but five of them left the class later. Only the patience of the monk can help develop the center. More and more students come to the English classes. The monk plans to open informatics, math and literature classes as well, which would nurture the future useful citizens of the society.
Source: PL & XH