Industrial zones lack childcare facilities
  • | VNA | March 15, 2011 03:37 PM

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A shortage of kindergartens for the children of migrant workers in HCM City-based industrial zones has put pressure on workers and authorities.

Photo shows a meal being shared in Kindergarten 27 in HCM City\'s Binh Thanh District.

Nguyen Kim Thanh, head of the Pre-school Education Division under the HCM City Department of Education and Training said that many industrial zones did not have nurseries for workers\' children.

Meanwhile, licensed public and private kindergartens in nearby residential areas are overloaded, which has forced many workers to send their children to unlicensed childcare facilities.

There are about 265,000 workers in the city\'s industrial zones, of which up to 65 per cent are migrants and three fifths of them are female.

The city needed another 30 kindergartens to meet the demand from this group, according to the municipal Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA).

"There is an urgent need for kindergartens," said Bui Hoang Phuong, head of HEPZA\'s Construction Management Department.

However, plans to build kindergartens had not been implemented, due to a number of difficulties, she said.

A lack of investment and safety management measures had contributed to this, she added.

Industrial zones were also unable to charge high prices for childcare, as most of their employees were on low salaries, said Phuong.

Furthermore, public nurseries give priority to local children, and many of them are already full.

Nguyen Thi Binh, a resident from central Thanh Hoa Province who has worked in an industrial park for two years said: "My husband and I earn about VND3 million (USD140) per month. We are forced to send our baby to an unlicensed baby-sister near our house, which costs VND 600,000 (USD28) per month."

She said most of her female co-workers also sent their children to cheap private nurseries.

"Public schools only care for children during office hours, but sometimes, we have to work until 8 or 9pm at night," said Binh.

Binh said that meals for children in cheap private pre-schools were not guaranteed to be nutritious, hygienic or safe, because of the low-fees.

"The baby-sitter does not teach my children. I only expect her to look after them," Binh said.

Nguyen Thi Hoa, a textile worker from central Nghe An Province who works in Tan Binh Industrial Zone, decided to send her two-year-old son to her home town instead of a nursery near her workplace.

"The public schools are a long way from where we live and charge a lot of money, but small unlicensed facilities are not safe for our children. My two-year-old son gets diarrhoea at school," she said.

Ho Xuan Lam, head of HEPZA\'s Labour Management Department said if the State provided loans and cut taxes so enterprises could build kindergartens, it would solve the problem and encourage employees to work harder.

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