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Land, finance shortages hinder school upgrades

Update: October, 09/2013 - 10:02
Ha Noi's target of completing 147 schools that meet the national standards by the end of this year is unlikely to be reached due to limited land and funding.— File Photo

HA NOI — Ha Noi's target of completing 147 schools that meet the national standards by the end of this year is unlikely to be reached due to limited land and funding.

Authorities agreed at a recent meeting that they were running behind schedule, with only 22 schools recognised as meeting the national standards.

An additional 125 schools must be upgraded to meet the national standards during the last three months of the year in order to hit the target, they said.

The standards stipulate that should be no more than 35 students in primary school classes, and a maximum of 45 in secondary schools. They should also be equipped with libraries and sports training facilities.

Representatives from many central districts and suburban districts admitted that they needed more time and money to meet the criteria set by the Ministry of Education and Training.

Director of Thach That District's Education and Training Department Nguyen Quoc Manh said the district had failed to fulfill the target as result of a cut in public investment following a Government resolution to curb inflation, stabilise the macro-economy and ensure social security issued in 2011.

This cost cutting had affected investment in facilities and purchasing equipment for schools, he said.

The district was entrusted to upgrade five schools to meet the national standards by the end of this year, but only three met the criteria, he said, adding that the remaining two schools failed due to a lack of standard facilities.

The Deputy Head of the municipal Department of Education and Training's Planning and Finance Office, Tran Huu Thanh, said the majority of suburban districts had struggled to build facilities and buy standard equipment for schools.

Meanwhile, schools in inner districts were unable to expand because of a funding shortage, he said.

Authorities have asked the city to help the schools fulfill the target, particularly in rural and remote areas.

Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Education and Training Pham Thi Hong Nga said the department would ask municipal authorities to form special policies for districts that faced financial shortages.

The city had already issued policies to allow schools to build additional stories so that the floor space meet the standard criteria of 6sq.m per student, she said.

The city has 790 national-standard schools, 37.7 per cent of which are public schools.

The city wants between 50-55 per cent of public nursery schools and secondary schools to meet the national standards by 2015. — VNS

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