HCM City vows to basically fulfill the task of universalising preschool education for five-year-old children by the end of 2012. Meanwhile, there are still too many things to be done by that time.
In an effort to fulfill the preschool education universalization program (all
5-year-old children can go to school), state owned nursery schools in HCM City
have to refuse children of other ages.
The city’s authorities hope that 23 out of 24 districts in HCM City would be recognized as fulfilling the preschool education program by the end of 2012. Meanwhile, Tan Phu would be the last district in the city to fulfill the program, slated for May 2013, before a report on the implementation of the program is submitted to the Ministry of Education and Training.
The heaped up difficulties
Under the city’s plan, six districts should have fulfilled the program to date. However, in fact, only the districts 10 and 5 have finished their work, while the other four districts are still undergoing the technical testing.
Districts’ education sub-departments all have attributed the tardiness of the program implementation to the lack of material facilities, especially schools and classrooms. Meanwhile, local residents, especially in the areas of immigrant workers, still lack awareness of the education universalisation. Therefore, local authorities’ officers have to spend time to persuade families to bring their children to school.
Truong Ngoc Anh, an official of the Binh Tan district’s education sub-department, said that there are 4358 children aged five in the district, but there are only 12 state owned nursery schools, 30 private schools and 66 household run classes. Meanwhile, three wards in the district do not have any nursery schools.
Anh complained that the district is seriously lacking school and teachers. Though the district people’s committee has allowed to build a nursery school on the land area which is now the head office of the Binh Hung Hoa ward people’s committee. However, the construction has not finished yet.
District 7 is facing the same problem. Tran Bich Ngoc, Deputy Head of the district education sub-department, said that the schools programming has been finished, but land has not been allocated. Meanwhile, many existing schools are located near electricity poles or filling stations – unsafe for children.
State owned schools not reserved for all
Tan Phu, the district with many immigrant workers, proves to be the district which faces biggest difficulties in HCM City when implementing the preschool education universalisation program.
The district lacks 85 classrooms for five-year-old children. Meanwhile, three wards in the district still do not have nursery schools. There are more than 6000 children aged five, while there are only 10 state owned schools which can receive 5500 children at maximum. In the 2010-2011 academic year, all the 10 state owned schools had to refused three and four-year-old children.
Local residents understand well that the problem would still occur this year, because, when prioritizing to implement the preschool education universalisation program, state owned schools would say “no” to smaller children, which means that there are very few opportunities for 3-4-year-old children to enroll in the schools.
While many districts reported that they have fulfilled the education universalisation by 96 percent, Tran Thi Kim Thanh, Deputy Director of the HCM City Education Department has doubts about the figure, saying that if this is true, there are no more things to be done.
Thanh said that inter-ward schools would be built which would receive children form different wards, thus allowing to partially settle the current problems.