But many schools in the Ninh Kieu district of Can Tho city don’t teach Khmer because there are too few Khmer students, so local Khmer families were pleased when Munirangsyaram Pagoda began offering Khmer classes for children.
That was the sound of students reciting a Khmer lesson at Munirangsyaram Pagoda, 36 Hoa Binh Avenue, Ninh Kieu district, Can Tho city.
Khmer language classes here are packed with students during the summer months.
Superior Buddhist monk Tran Sol said, “I think it was important to organize Khmer classes to help Khmer children learn their own language. Summer is the best time for these classes because the students don’t have to go school. We provided the students with textbooks and other materials. We hope to preserve and promote the value of Khmer ethnic language by inspiring many more children to learn Khmer language.”
Afternon classes are offered Monday through Friday for students from primary school to high school.
Mrs Huynh Da Lin, a relative of two of the students, said, “I’m happy that Can Tho city now has summer Khmer language classes for children. I think it’s important that Khmer children learn their language and also their own Khmer culture.”
Monk Thach Diep, a Khmer language teacher, told us that many Khmer families still speak Khmer at home, which helps the children learn the language much faster.
Monk Thach Diep said, “Many Khmer families have enrolled their children in our Khmer language classes. I’m very happy that my students are excited about learning Khmer. I hope more and more Khmer children will start coming to our summer classes.”
Chane Ratani, a Khmer student at Munirangsyaram Pagoda said, “I’m very happy to be learning Khmer here because I can’t learn it at school. I was looking forward to these summer language classes. I know Khmer is my mother tongue so I will do my best to learn it.”
There are Khmer classes for adults, too. By offering Khmer language classes, Munirangsyaram Pagoda is helping to preserve the culture of Vietnam’s Khmer ethnic minority.