Hanoi principal to build school in one of Vietnam's poorest district

By Duong Tam, Thanh Hang   February 23, 2024 | 05:15 pm PT
Hanoi principal to build school in one of Vietnam's poorest district
Principal Nguyen Xuan Khang of Hanoi's Marie Curie school and students from Meo Vac District of Ha Giang who received scholarships from him to study at university, November 2023. Photo by the school
A Hanoi principal will spend VND100 billion (US$4 million) building a school for minority students in Meo Vac, a poor, mountainous district in the northernmost border province of Ha Giang.

"Giving a school to a northern border area has been my wish for a long time," the capital's Marie Curie School principal Nguyen Xuan Khang said as he announced the plan Tuesday.

Khang, 75, revealed that the new school, named Marie Curie Ethnic Boarding School - Meo Vac, would be located on a 1.5-hectare site in the district town's center.

Later this year, Marie Cuire, Hanoi's top private school, plans to send three architects to Meo Vac to survey, design, and prepare documentation for the project.

Construction of the new school is expected to begin in 2025 for completed in July 2026. The goal is to have the facility ready to enroll its first class for the 2026-2027 academic year.

The construction cost is estimated at about VND100 billion, funded by Khang.

The district's People's Committee will allocate funds to purchase equipment for the students' boarding needs.

"This is the first time the district has received a full investment and sponsorship from an individual to build a school," said Ngo Manh Cuong, Vice Chairman of Meo Vac District People's Committee.

Chairman Cuong said the district had previously mulled plans to build another boarding school due to the rapid increase in student numbers, but "could not afford it."

Therefore, he considers the Marie Curie-Meo Vac school project "very meaningful."

Khang said the connection between Marie Curie School and Meo Vac District began in 2021 when the school planted 20,000 cunninghamia trees in Khau Vai Commune.

In 2022, Marie Curie School opened online English lessons for 2,600 Meo Vac third graders that will continue until they complete elementary school.

At the end of November 2023, to address the shortage of English teachers in Meo Vac, Khang rolled out funds of VND12 billion to support 30 local students to study for university degrees in English.

Currently, 17 students are participating in the project. The district's People's Committee will recruit 13 more people for training in the next academic year.

Meo Vac shares over 41 km of border with China.

The population here is nearly 100,000, comprised of 17 ethnic groups, mostly Hmong people.

It is on a government list of the nation's 74 poorest districts.

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