Saturday, April 26, 2008

Evils surrounding school students

Massage shops, karaoke bars, Internet cafés, online game shops and restaurants which provide ‘sensitive services’ and can be places generating evils, are surrounding schools and badly affecting school environments.

Living … on school students

Internet cafés and online game shops near schools are always full of students all day long, including primary, secondary, high school and university students.

In Hanoi, Luong Dinh Cua street is well known for such cafes and Internet bars. A lot of schools are located near the street, including Dong Da Secondary, Kim Lien Primary and Hoa Sua Kindergarten. That explains why the majority of clients of these cafés and bars are students of these schools.

Within 50m of Dong Da Secondary School are three online game shops, which regularly witness the presence of ‘citizens in white school uniforms’. Each of the cafés is 20 sq m on average, enough for 20 computers for playing games.

It is estimated that 70% of the clients of the Internet and online game shops near schools on Le Thanh Nghi, Luong Dinh Cua and Ta Quang Buu streets are ‘loyal clients’, school and university students.

The owner of an Internet café on Luong Dinh Cua street said that he can earn his living on school pupils, because his clients mostly are ‘loyal students’, while he receives very few strange clients every day.

He related that his café opens all day long, while the peak hours are times when students finish the morning or afternoon shifts.

Doan Duc Hanh, Deputy Headmaster of the Quang Trung High School in Hanoi, related that the school is surrounded by a lot of service shops, from hair washing, massage and pawn shops, which are seducing the school’s students.

The school’s management board fears that the pawnshops will prompt students to steal things from teachers and other students to sell to the shops to get money.

Nguyen Tien Hoa, Chairman of Thinh Quang ward People’s Committee, said that by the end of 2007, there were 13 massage and hair washing shops in the ward, most of which are located near Quang Trung and Thai Thinh Schools.

The schools on Hoang Quoc Viet and Thuy Khue streets also complain that ‘sensitive service’ shops (discotheques, karaoke bars, Internet cafes) are obstructing access to the schools.

Schools and local authorities sitting idle?

Though complaining about the existence of the ‘sensitive service’ shops, schools do nothing to settle the problem. Many school management boards have never heard about Decree 11 dated January 1, 2006, which stipulates that shops that provide ‘sensitive services’ must be 200m at least from schools, hospitals, religious establishments, historical sites and state agencies.

The irony is that though massage shops and ‘hair washing for relax’ shops, though listed among the sensitive services, are not listed among the subjects of Decree 11’s coverage. Therefore, local authorities cannot ask the owners of the shops to relocate to other places.

The inconsistency of legal documents has also been putting difficulties on local authorities. Circular 06 on managing online games stipulates that online game shops must be 200m far from the gates of schools.

Meanwhile, Circular 02 on managing Internet services stipulates that the minimum distance from Internet agents to the gates of schools is 100m.
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