School violence rising, students not given adequate counseling

School violence rising, students not given adequate counseling
"It looks like students voilence in Phnom Penh, Cambodia!"
Thursday, 13, 2009

It is very funny to see how young Vietnamese students fight each other
like a real big deal in their life that they have to do it, said Prey_Kbass

Violence at Vietnamese schools has been on the rise, say educators who argue that a lack of on-campus counseling could be part of the problem.

Speaking at an international conference in Hanoi last week, Dr. Phan Mai Huong from the Institute of Psychology said school violence in Vietnam was getting more complicated and dangerous.

Campus violence is now more diverse than ever, Huong said, explaining that recent cases ranged from verbal abuse to murder. She said it was now common for high school students, and even those as young as 13-14 years old, to form gangs or team up with gangs outside of school to bully or control other students.

Hoang Ba Thinh – director of the Center for Population Studies and Social Work at the Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said recent research on violent behavior in schoolgirls showed that 64 percent of 200 surveyed students between 15-18 years old had been involved in fights.

The research found several recurring causes for the fights, including revenge for romantic disputes, hate for each other, and even no reason at all, according to Thinh.

He noted that over 50 percent of schoolgirls exhibiting violent behavior said their parents don’t show much care for them, while nearly 15 percent said they received no care from their parents.

Tellingly, nearly 85 percent of the schoolgirls who had been in fights said violence was employed in their families, Thinh said.

A 2007 student mental health survey conducted by the Hanoi Health Department with the University of Melbourne showed that nearly 20 percent of 21,960 surveyed students between 10-16 years old had mental health issues.

Under pressure

Citing the survey at the conference, held by the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Associate Professor Nguyen Hoi Loan from the Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities said most of the problems were related to studying.

Vietnamese students were studying under extreme pressure to enter university, which is considered by many as the only way to guarantee a good job in the future, Loan said. But every year only 30 percent of students who sit university entrance exams are admitted, she explained.

And he said many were studying in classes too stuffed with information while others were even taking extra courses outside school, spending every waking minute trying to cram exam material into their memories.

Dr. Tran Van Vu from the National Psychiatric Hospital No.1 said 40 percent of his hospital’s 4,000 annual patients were students, adding that the hospital was the most crowded after university entrance exam results were released, usually in August.

Despite the stress and high pressure, most local schools, including universities, have yet to provide their students with counselors to help them deal with the mental strain studying can cause.

Representatives from local universities and organizations gathered at the event to meet with their counterparts from US universities and representatives from international organizations such as UNICEF and Save the Children UK.

Reported by Tue Nguyen

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