02/06/2017 15:11 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Pagodas Become Schools to Teach the Khmer Language

When summer comes, Khmer pagodas in this province open classes teaching the Khmer language free of charge for local pupils.
According to the Most Venerable Thach Nhut, head of Xoai Xiem pagoda in Tra Cu district, Tra Vinh province, Khmer pagodas in the region have for years maintained the tradition of teaching Khmer for local pupils and students who are mainly children of 6-7 years old.

Tutors at pagodas are monks and Buddhist followers. “I have taught Khmer for children at Ta Niep pagoda in Tra Cu district for more than 30 years. Classes in the pagoda are for pupils from primary to secondary schools, so if they want to study the language at a higher level, they will move to other pagodas,” said Thach Ni, a local volunteer tutor. Although not being paid, volunteers like Thach Ni have whole-heartedly devoted their lives to teaching the pupils because they consider it charitable work.

Besides being taught to write and read Khmer, the pupils and students learn about Buddhism and the cultural characteristics of the Khmer community. Thach Thi Dieu, a 22 year-old student from Tra Vinh university who is studying Khmer at Kompong pagoda, said that what she learnt at the pagoda is very useful for the major that she is studying at the university. For other students like Le Thi Hong Lua, a Kinh student, studying at the pagoda helps them learn about Buddhism and the culture of the Khmer community.



Most Khmer pagodas open classes teaching Khmer with the aim of preserving
the Khmer language, scripts and culture of the Khmer community.

The Pali-Khmer school is working with Kompong pagoda to open
more classes teaching Khmer free of charge in the summer. 

Going to class to study Khmer at Kompong pagoda in Tra Vinh city. 

Tutor and students greet each other before starting their lesson. 

Studying at the pagoda helps them learn about Buddhism and the culture of the Khmer community.

Thach Sang, who has seven years’ experience teaching Khmer,
is a lecturer at the Pali-Khmer school in Tra Vinh province. 

Books of Khmer grammar used to teach pupils and students in Tra Vinh.

Students focus on their lesson. 

Besides being taught to write and read Khmer, the pupils and
students learn about Buddhism and the cultural characteristics of the Khmer community

Taking notes in class. 

Reading Khmer at a lesson. 


Reviewing lessons. 

A class learning Khmer at the Pali-Khmer school is held at Kompong pagoda in Tra Vinh city. 

All pupils and students are taught free of charge at pagodas. They are also provided with books, notebooks and room and board. According to Thach Sang who teaches Khmer at Kompong pagoda in Tra Vinh city, it takes about 2-3 months for students to speak and write basic Khmer, but to become fluent, it takes at least 6-7 months.

136 out of 142 Khmer pagodas in Tra Vinh province have classes teaching Khmer to pupils from 1st to 5th grade in the summer.
To facilitate the study of Khmer, Tra Vinh province’s Pali-Khmer school was established in August 2014 and opened its first class at Kompong pagoda. So far, the school has opened three courses with 16 compulsory subjects, including 6 subjects of the Khmer language programme.

At present, the Pali-Khmer school is working with Kompong pagoda to open more classes teaching Khmer free of charge in the summer. All efforts are to encourage people to preserve the language and culture of the Khmer ethnic people.

 
Story: Son Nghia - Photos: Nguyen Luan