Creating Friendly Schools Where Ethnic Minority Children Thrive

Effective integrated communication activities combined with school psychology consultation room, promote the comprehensive development of ethnic minority students by addressing their academic, social, and emotional well-being.
April 05, 2024 | 09:25

Schools in Xin Man and Hoang Su Phi districts of Ha Giang province go beyond just teaching ethnic minority students. They provide a well-rounded education that equips students with important life skills like environmental awareness, online learning tools, knowledge of sexual health, and access to mental health support.

Protecting children and teenagers safely online

The trend of younger and younger students accessing the internet presents a double-edged sword for educators. It's a complex issue that requires collaboration between schools, teachers, and parents to ensure a safe and enriching online experience for students.

Vietnam has nearly 78 million Internet users, 70 million social network users and 161.6 million active mobile connections, as of January 2023. The internet's rise as a hub for learning, shopping, entertainment, and communication brings undeniable benefits, but also exposes users, particularly teenagers and children, to growing online dangers. This risk is especially concerning for those who might already be vulnerable to gender-based violence and abuse, and who could face it online as well.

91% of boys and girls participating in the survey have Internet access, but only 10% of them have the knowledge and skills to use the Internet safely. Victims of online abuse often experience a series of negative emotions such as fear (43.3%), shame (41.5%), loss of confidence (43%).

Chien Pho Secondary School for Ethnic Minorities Boarding School in Hoang Su Phi district, has early paid attention and had many specific activities to protect children from increasing risks in cyberspace. The school has developed communication initiatives and presided over many activities aimed at protecting and supporting children in healthy interactions in cyberspace.

Creating Friendly Schools Where Ethnic Minority Children Thrive
Students at Chien Pho Secondary Boarding School for Ethnic Minorities, Hoang Su Phi district, Ha Giang province participate in the communication activity to protect children and adolescents safely in the online environment. Photo: Van Anh

Nguyen Hong Luong, principal of Chien Pho Secondary Boarding School for Ethnic Minorities, shared that the project is implemented for secondary school students through many activities. media, computer practice sessions, information technology classes, help children change the way they access the internet and ensure personal safety.

Participating in the event, 9th grade student Giang Thi Chuyen shared that the cyber security project used creative methods like drawing paintings and information trees to make cybersecurity knowledge accessible and interesting for students and parents; incorporating cybersecurity education into Saturday activities, children's day event, and competitions makes it fun and memorable.

Chuyen also highlighted the positive impact - gaining knowledge and skills to prevent online risks.

Consultation room solves school psychological problems

The School Psychology Consulting Department of Ta Nhiu High School and Secondary School for Ethnic Minorities in Xin Man district, is a newly built model. This place is especially welcomed by students with countless questions about puberty, relationships, and the future. The school has a counselor, a counseling mailbox and assigns people to be on duty 24/7 so students can come at any time.

Len Thi Nhung recalled when she have difficulties with family or school issues, she often goes to the consultation room to seek help. Specifically, the problems of puberty and difficulties in studying were all answered enthusiastically by the teachers

Creating Friendly Schools Where Ethnic Minority Children Thrive
Students come to the school psychology consulting room whenever they encounter difficulties in study and life. Photo: Van Anh

Dang Thi Phan, a Physics teacher and a consultant in the school psychology consultation room, said that her love for children motivates her to recognize the emotional vulnerability and changes middle schoolers experience during puberty. She asked to participate to learn and help the students by offering consultations on crucial topics like reproductive health, self-care, hygiene, mental health, and even career guidance.

These are all "real skills" for navigating life's challenges, she stressed, acknowledging the significant psychological and physiological changes that occur during puberty, and highlighting the need for comprehensive support.

From this special classroom, students have been able to provided with strategies to resolve conflicts peacefully within the school environment, offering crucial resources to help students navigate emotional challenges, conflicts, and the pressures of puberty.

The combination of a dedicated school psychology consultation room and engaging communication activities creates a powerful model for supporting ethnic minority students in these border communities. It likely foster open communication between students, teachers, and counselors, allowing for early identification and intervention for potential problems; provides a confidential environment for students to address their psychological concerns, preventing issues from escalating and potentially leading to dropping out; equips students with the skills to express themselves effectively and advocate for their needs.

Creating Friendly Schools Where Ethnic Minority Children Thrive
At school, ethnic minority students improve their knowledge and skills on how to protect themselves in the online environment. Photo: Van Anh

The project “Protection of girls and boys from cyberbullying and gender-based cyber violence” is designed to accompany the program of “Protecting and supporting children to interact healthily and creatively in the cyber environment in the 2021-2025 period” approved in Decision 830/QD-TTg dated June 1, 2021, of the Prime Minister of Vietnam and the program "Preventing and combating gender-based violence" of Plan International Vietnam in the 2020-2025 period.

It aims to support young people aged 10-18 years old, especially girls and the most vulnerable youth groups, to use the Internet and social networks safely and be protected from all forms of gender-based cyber violence.

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