Who will enjoy 14.6 trillion dong preschool plan?
  • | VNN | September 01, 2010 10:46 AM

Many educators have expressed their concern about the feasibility of the plan to universalize preschool education for 5-year-old children, saying that it would be even more difficult to universalize pre-school than primary education.

Under the plan to universalize preschool education for 5-year-old children, 85 percent of provinces will fulfill the plan by 2012, and 100 percent by 2015.

It is expected that by 2014-2015, 95 percent of these children can go to school in both the morning and afternoon, 100 percent of children in nursery schools can follow the new education curricula, and 100 percent of teachers who teach five-year-old children can meet required standards.

Despite careful preparation, major issues are plaguing the plan’s implementation.

Preschool compulsory education means that all parents must bring their children at age five to school. The State must ensure sufficient schools, material facilities, teaching aids and instructors.

Currently, the number of non-state nursery schools accounts for a high proportion in the school system. The number of students at non-state nursery schools accounts for 50 percent of the total. There are 5369 non-state schools, including 4011 semi-state-owned schools, 350 private schools and another 1008 privately-run schools.

According to Tuoi tre newspaper, none of the cities and provinces, including Hanoi and HCM City, have enough schools to meet demand. In Hanoi, five wards with populations equal to one district in other provinces have no state-owned nursery school. In HCM City, the existing state-owned nursery schools can only meet 30 percent of demand. The number of 5-year-old children studying at privately-run schools has reached 32.63 percent.

Without enough schools, it is very difficult to obtain a seat at a state-owned school. Parents in areas with no state-owned school or those who do not pay money for a seat at a “star” school must bring their children to private schools. These centers always charge very high tuition, sometimes even higher than universities.

The plan to universalize pre-school education is not only facing a lack of classrooms, but also material facilities. To date, only 2014 nursery schools, or 15.8 percent, can meet national standards. In many provinces, classes for 5-year old children are located at primary schools. Lots of classrooms do not have furniture, so children sit on the floor and sleep without mosquito nets.

The preschool education universalization plan is expected to cost 14.6 trillion dong. How this figure can be used most efficiently, however, is now a subject of debate. Currently, the system of state-owned schools cannot meet demand and so many children go to private schools and pay high tuitions. These families will not enjoy a single dong in investment by the State.

In Hanoi, the total sum spent on every nursery school child is two million dong per year. Some argue this is unfair to children at non-state owned schools who will not benefit from the plan.

Therefore, building enough schools to satisfy demand immediately is necessary. Support for children at non-state schools is also needed, as well as tuition exemption for nursery school students.

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