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A female lecturer connects students with part-time job opportunities

 

Dr Nguyen Thi Hong Minh
Dr Nguyen Thi Hong Minh

Education & Times Newspaper- “Excuse me, could you please help me to find a part-time job so that I can pay for my accommodation? If I ask a Tutor Centre, I must pay a few months’ salary in advance”- Dr Nguyen Thi Hong Minh, Head of Foreign Languages Faculty, Thai Nguyen University of Education, recalled one of many messages she received after her project ‘Supporting ethnic minority female students find appropriate and safe part-time jobs’ was established.

A special project

In the Foreign Languages Faculty, Thai Nguyen University of Education, Ms To Thi Thuyen who comes from Bac Quang district, Ha Giang province, is a disadvantaged student. Her father passed away when she was small, and her mother became the breadwinner. Thuyen has strived to overcome her situation and achieved high academic results.

She would like to find a part-time job to be economically independent. Dr Hong Minh offered Thuyen a tutor position. After few months, Thuyen could buy some reference books to improve her academic knowledge. Furthermore, her mother no longer had to worry about her accommodation costs.

Ms Phun Thi Mai, who is a Dao ethnic minority student from Bac Giang province, would like to hone her professional knowledge and skills through a part-time job. Dr Hong Minh introduced Mai to teach a fourth-grade student who is the son of a university lecturer.

“At first, I was very nervous because I have never taught or instructed anyone. To prepare for this new role, I prepared lectures, found appropriate teaching methods for students, and so on. After that, I have a better understanding of young students’ characteristics and pedagogical situations,” Mai shared her feelings to Dr Hong Minh after taking the part-time job.

They are two among many students who have received support from the project for ‘Supporting ethnic minority female students to find appropriate and safe part-time jobs’ at Thai Nguyen University of Education.

To Thi Thuyen works as a Teaching Assistant at an English Training Centre
Ms. To Thi Thuyen works as a Teaching Assistant at an English Training Centre

Connecting part-time job opportunities to students

Dr Hong Minh’s project was developed taking into account the current situation: Thai Nguyen University of Education is located in the northern mountainous area with more than 30% students from ethnic minority communities, and 70% of these students are women. Most of them are economically disadvantaged students and paying for accommodation is a real challenge. Although they receive tuition waiver and support from the university, they would like to earn more money to pay for their accommodation.

While participating in the Australia Awards Short Course - Women in Leadership Journey, Dr Hong Minh went on field trips in Australia. She recognized that supporting systems for women and ethnic minority people operate very well in Australia. Inspired by the course, she decided to do something to help her female ethnic minority students overcome their financial difficulties.

Undertaking a survey, Dr Hong Minh identified the need of students to find part-time job opportunities. To support the project, she created a page on Facebook and invited lecturers and students to join in order to share information about vacant positions and available students.

In addition, the Thai Nguyen University of Education has online forums for teachers and students. When there is a vacant position, Dr Hong Minh quickly shares information from these forums. The network has been developed mainly within the university. She has not expanded the network to other groups because the information collected is not sufficient, and she would like to make sure all jobs are safe and appropriate for female students.

There are 21 female students who have been introduced to part-time positions, such as tutors or household chores. In addition to providing information, Ms. Hong Minh has also “trained” students by sharing necessary skills for effectively carrying out their jobs: whatever it takes to teach grade one students, such as how to understand teenagers, communication skills, pedagogical skills, and so on. During their work, students still seek her advice when they face obstacles.

“It feels like I am a head-hunter!” – Dr Hong Minh said cheerfully about her project.

Expanding the current network

Currently Dr Hong Minh is expanding the projects target group
Currently, Dr Hong Minh is expanding the project’s target group

While Dr Hong Minh was implementing this project, Thai Nguyen University of Education carried out a program to support and counsel ethnic minority students and foreign students. However, the program focuses on academic matters without considering accommodation issues.

After identifying this gap, Dr. Hong Minh proposed to develop a systematic network to introduce part-time jobs to students.

Based on her proposal, the University Management Board directed the Youth Union and Student Union to develop a plan to improve the activities of Tutor Club which was established earlier but has failed to reach out to students. The two Unions were requested to establish communication channels to connect teachers and students with the Tutor Club.

At the Final Presentation of the Australia Awards Short Course - Women in Leadership Journey, Dr Hong Minh’s project was highly appreciated by the Australian and Vietnamese experts. However, for her this project has not yet been completed. Currently, she is expanding the project’s target group to all students who would like to receive support from university lecturers.

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“I plan to establish a network comprising lecturers and students to support the project. This network requires a lot of time and consistent, careful implementation. This is my objective in the near future – developing a network which reaches out to more people and supports more students to have suitable part-time jobs.” – said Dr Nguyen Thi Hong Minh.

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Source: Translation of an article on Education and Times Newspaper