Muong Lat High School
Muong Lat is the most remote district of Thanh Hoa Province. It is 300km away from Thanh Hoa City and shares a border with Laos. Muong Lat has many people from the Thai, Muong, Dao and Kho Mu ethnic groups. Despite the effort from the authorities in the past recent years, the level of intermarrying and child marriage cases has only marginally reduced.
Nguyen Nam Son, deputy head of Muong Lat High School, said they had 743 pupils of which 364 pupils had disadvantaged backgrounds. About 40 pupils dropped out of school in the 2017-2018 school year and up to 25 pupils have dropped out after Tet Holiday.
Son said the number of dropout pupils would keep rising as many of them return home to get married, find a job or work on the field with their parents. The school and the authorities are given money for meals to 602 pupils and support in the commodity to 391 pupils. However, they are not attractive enough to encourage pupils to keep studying.
A pupil and her child
“Pupils often drop out after Tet. We have come to their houses to persuade them but it’s not very effective. Some pupils returned to school after getting married but because of poverty, they would still drop out after a while,” he said.
A pupil at Muong Lat High School said she started a relationship with another pupil when she first came to high school. They have got married and had a four-month-old child together. Unlike many other cases, she is determined to keep studying and has asked her mother to help take care of the baby.
According to Son, they had a dormitory for 300 pupils. However, there’s no fence or wall so other people can easily access the dormitory and pupils can freely go out.
A large number of pupils got pregnant and dropped out after Tet or summer holiday. It’s not uncommon for pupils to get into a relationship at school. Son said they had tried to improve the situation by holding sex education classes, cultural and sports events for the pupils, however, the main cause of the problems comes from families and communities.
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