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HCM City lacks classrooms, teachers for new training programme

A new training programme for first graders in the 2020-2021 academic year faces a shortage of classrooms and teachers, according to the HCM City Department of Education and Training.

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Students on the playground at Ho Van Thanh Primary School in District 12. — VNS Photo Gia Loc

The new programme requires all first graders to attend school during the day for a maximum of seven class periods from Monday to Friday.

Previously, most first-graders at primary schools attended a half day of study.

Nguyen Quang Vinh, head of the department’s primary education division, said that a half day of study would not be enough for students to learn all the content of the new programme.

The new programme is designed for classrooms of no more than 35 students, but many classes have exceeded that number, according to Vinh.

School managers and the department’s primary education division said the plan was not feasible because of the shortage of classrooms.

Phan Chu Trinh Primary School in Tan Phu District, for instance, has 788 first graders this year. They are divided into 17 classrooms, but only three classrooms of students can study throughout the day.

Tan Phu District has four primary schools Au Co, Ho Van Cuong, Tan Huong and Tan Son Nhi where first-grade students study a full day.

All first-grade students at Ho Van Thanh Primary School in District 12 study a half day.

Speaking at a conference last month, Khuu Manh Hung, head of the educational division in District 12, said that 20.2 per cent of first-grade students in the district studied a full day.

The district estimates that it will have nearly 11,000 more children in the first grade in the 2020-2021 academic year.

At least 189 more classrooms should be built to accommodate the full-day study. If they are not built, first graders could study on Saturday, Hung said.

Thu Duc District has 49 per cent of first graders studying a full day.

Nguyen Thi Kim Thuy, vice chairwoman of Thu Duc District People’s Committee, said that although district authorities had built more classrooms, many schools will not have enough classrooms throughout the day next year. Students will have to study on Saturday, she said.

The Department of Education and Training said that 73 per cent of the more than 650,000 primary students in the city study a full day. Of the total, there are more than 120,000 first graders.

In many districts, only 20 per cent of students study all day because of the increase in the number of students from families that have moved from other provinces and cities.

Shortage of teachers

The city has more than 21,500 teachers for primary schools, but the number is not enough for the new programme. The city has a huge shortage of English, computer, music, art and gymnastics teachers.

The new programme requires compulsory classes in computers and English beginning in the third grade.

The department will continue to cooperate with Sai Gon University to train teachers in these subjects. It has submitted a list of problems that need to be resolved to the Ministry of Education and Training. — VNS

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