|Ms. Ngoc Dung Moser (second from left) and teachers of Binh Minh School (Source: Binh Minh School)
The Rector of the school is Ms. Ngoc Dung Moser, a member of the Executive Board of the Switzerland - Vietnam Friendship Association (ASV). She has been devoted to the journey of bringing the Vietnamese language closer to the overseas community for many years.
Having left her homeland more than 50 years ago, although she is fluent in English, German and French, she always finds ways to help herself and her family preserve their mother tongue. As a member of the Executive Board of the ASV, Ms. Ngoc Dung has always wondered how to call on families to spread the Vietnamese language to future generations.
Her desire was heard and facilitated by the Vietnamese Embassy in Switzerland, the Ministry of Education and Training and the State Commission for Overseas Vietnamese. In 2015 and 2016, at the age of 60, Ms. Ngoc Dung returned to Vietnam to attend training courses on Vietnamese teaching for overseas Vietnamese teachers.
Before deciding to establish the school, she and voluntary teachers, with the support of ASV, spent a month organizing discussions and consulting about the importance of mother tongue to the Vietnamese community living in the foreign countries.
From March 2017, Binh Minh School started welcoming the first students. At this time, the school only had three teachers, including the Rector. Every Saturday morning from 10am to 12am, the tables and chairs are rearranged into a classroom at a Vietnamese restaurant on the outskirts of Zurich.
The class usually had 10 children, who together learned basic conversational Vietnamese lessons or played games in Vietnamese. The children study with the teacher in the middle, while the surrounding parents watch or participate, creating a small community exchange space on the weekend.
Apart from the Rector, who is now over 70, the teachers are in their 30s and 40s and are all volunteer teachers. Despite being busy with their lives, the teachers still regularly attend class every week with all their hearts.
In addition to the main curricula of Tieng Viet Vui and Que Viet, the teachers also take advantage of online information sources.
For students with foreign parents, Binh Minh School gives priority to teaching both the good culture of Vietnam's daily life such as holidays or manners in family.
This year, Binh Minh School has returned to operation after a period of hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With efforts to spread Vietnamese language and culture among overseas Vietnamese children and Swiss friends, the school's goal is to standardize the curriculum.
The desire of not only Ms. Dung but also of ASV is to make the Vietnamese language curriculum become an optional foreign language subject in high schools in Switzerland.
Ms. Ngoc Dung and ASV always make efforts so that the Binh Minh school and Vietnamese language teaching projects in Switzerland in the future will not only help preserve Vietnamese language for overseas Vietnamese children, but also be an opportunity for foreign friends who love Vietnam to know more about Vietnamese language, culture and people./.