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Work hours for students should be managed: experts

Students supplementing college with part-time jobs could miss out on studies while they work.

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Illustrative image. Many students chose working for ride-hailing services because it was flexible and helped pay for tuition fees when balancing classes. Photo

That was the message from the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) that suggested tighter management of part-time jobs.

An independent study has revealed there are around 300,000 drivers working for ride-hailing companies, many of which are students.

It said some of those are neglecting their studies by spending up to 14 hours a day at work.

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has recently requested ministries and localities devise regulations governing college students’ part-time jobs, especially tech-based motorbike taxi drivers.

Operators of ride-hailing services should also be encouraged to reduce the work time of employees who are students, he said.

Colleges have also been asked to regulate their students’ part-time jobs and promote a healthy balance between work and study.

While some people agreed the regulation was necessary, others said the management of part-time jobs will limit opportunities.

Bui Van Linh, head of the Student Affairs Department under the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), welcomed the deputy PM’s move, saying it was a right decision in the current situation.

“Many students are unable to make ends meet, so the desire to take part-time jobs was reasonable but students have to be proactive and follow rules from colleges,” Linh said.

“They will get warnings if they fail to secure academic performance due to working part-time jobs.”

He said it was necessary to supplement a legal foundation to manage those in part-time positions, emphasising the need to consult with businesses with high demand for human resources.

But others disagree, saying part time jobs help boost life skills and will enable the individual to learn outside the classroom.

Phan Hong Hai, from Industrial University of HCM City, said: “Taking part-time jobs will enrich their knowledge and life skills while help students become active.”

He said the fact that students took jobs during term time was essential and should be promoted, as long as the employment doesn’t overshadow college work.

His opinion is shared by Associate Professor Vu Quang Tho, former head of the Institute of Workers and Trade.

According to Tho, because students have not matured, they shouldn’t work until exhausted as it would affect future work.

“If students face financial difficulty, they could access to credit fund and can pay back the capital after graduating from colleges,” Tho said.

Decent income

A survey by Dang Thi Le Xuan from the National Economic University on the impact of tuition fees to students pointed out that 51 per cent of all students fund college fees with part-time jobs, with the amount rising to 79 per cent for disadvantaged students.

Hoang Lam, a student from Hanoi University told Việt Nam News many chose working for ride-hailing services because it was flexible and helped finance tuition fees while he still could balance classes.

In order to join the service, a potential candidate needs a motorbike, a smartphone with internet connection and some essential documents.

A lot of students begin their driving shift late at night after finishing their studies.

However, Lam said, the working hours should be arranged in a way that does not affect their academic performance, adding that some have neglected learning as a result of spending too much time at work.

Trinh Tung Lam, who worked as a motorbike taxi driver for three years, added: “Studying at a university, especially a technical school is very tough. Lack of concentration can result in the fact that students couldn’t pass the exam.”

He admitted that he had failed several subjects.

“Being a high-tech motorbike taxi driver is very tired when constantly moving on the road, not to mention the risks such as traffic accidents, exhausted, getting robbed or being attacked,” he told Nông thôn Ngày Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper.

“But it can’t be denied that it brings about a legitimate source of income and helps many students have a decent life.”

Le Xuan Thanh, who is in charge of students’ affairs at Hanoi University of Mining and Geology said regulations relating to work time of students should be considered carefully to avoid overlapping because over 18-year-old students had the right to work legally.

He also said it should be made clear that firms could employ students for a certain amount of time each day and would be fined if they violated the laws. — VNS

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