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Preschool education program fails

The goals of the preschool education development program proved to be unattainable. Preschool classes remain overloaded, while teachers’ incomes are not high enough to cover their basic needs.
VietNamNet Bridge - The goals of the preschool education development program – all 5-year-old children would go to preschool by the end of 2015 – proved to be unattainable. Preschool classes remain overloaded, while teachers’ incomes are not high enough to cover their basic needs.

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By the 2014-2015 academic year, the number of newly built preschools had increased by 3,000 in comparison with 2006. Meanwhile, the number of children aged below three who could go to preschools had increased by 7.8 percent. 

The program on preschool education development in 2006 was hoped to create a push to create a breakthrough in the preschool education system. It was allocated a big budget of VND14.66 trillion, of which VND9 trillion had been disbursed by early 2014.

A report on the program implementation showed that the majority of the money had been spent on building new schools, public houses for teachers, teaching aids and toys for children. 

By the 2014-2015 academic year, the number of newly built preschools had increased by 3,000 in comparison with 2006. Meanwhile, the number of children aged below three who could go to preschools had increased by 7.8 percent. 

The number of teachers had increased by 81,000, which means that Vietnam had 1.7 teachers for every class or group of children.

The report also pointed out that many targets set by the program could not be reached. Educators hoped 30 percent of children can go to preschool, while the real figure is 25.3 percent. They hoped 50 percent of preschools can meet the national standard, while the real figure is 31.1 percent.

Only 45 out of 63 provinces and cities throughout the country have been recognized as having preschool education universalization for 5-year-old children, or 71.4 percent. Meanwhile, 233 communes in Vietnam still don’t have preschools.

According to Bui Thuy Phuong, deputy director of the Quang Ninh Education and Training Department, by February 2016, the province had 6,000 teachers, 98.2 percent of whom meet national standards. However, teachers’ quality remains a problem. This partially is attributed to low pay to teachers.

Phuong said in the past, preschool teachers in many localities were paid in rice and now receive money. However, the salaries offered to them are too low to cover their basic needs. Many teachers in border districts gave up their jobs because of modest salaries.

HCMC authorities give allowances to teachers who work extra hours. However, the policy has been applied only to teachers at state-owned schools (every teacher receives VND700,000 a month) and special schools (every teacher at schools for disabled children receives VND200,000).

According to Tran Thi Bac, head of the Preschool Education Sub-department of the Hoa Binh Education and Training Department, preschool teachers have to work too hard, more than 10 hours a day. As they are too busy at school, they cannot take extra jobs to earn extra money.


Tien Phong

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