Experts applaud MoET proposal to waive tuition fees for secondary school students

July, 07/2022 - 09:00

Many experts have applauded a proposal from the Ministry of Education and Training to waive tuition fees for secondary school students up between grades 6 and 9 nationwide from the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.

Sixth graders of Đống Đa Secondary School in Hà Nội. —VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tùng

HÀ NỘI — Many experts have applauded a proposal from the Ministry of Education and Training to waive tuition fees for secondary school students up between grades 6 and 9 nationwide from the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.

On Monday, Minister of Education and Training Nguyễn Kim Sơn made the proposal at the conference between the Government and localities.

Professor Đinh Quang Báo, former principal of the Hà Nội National University of Education, told Dân Trí online newspaper that he agreed with the proposal, even if it could have come sooner. 

Báo said secondary education is the basic level of education.

The National Assembly Resolution 88/2014/QH13 has shown that general education is divided into two stages. The basic education stage is from grade 1 to grade 9. The goal of the stage is to provide students with basic knowledge, he said.

The next stage is at the high school level, which provides students with deeper knowledge, he said.

With the abolition of tuition fees up to grade nine, every person in Việt Nam will be able to benefit from basic education without tuition fees, he said.

“This is an extremely important thing; it needs to be done right away,” he said.

He also said that the current difficulty is whether the State has enough money to implement this proposal or not.

"However, in my opinion, this is the right thing to do. We need to find the funding to implement it,” he added.

“Education is a top national policy,” he said.

He said a number of countries in the world have waived tuition fees during the entire period of general education.

While it would be difficult to exempt tuition fees for the whole period of general education in Việt Nam, basic education from grade 1 to grade 9 should be free, he said.

Trần Xuân Nhĩ, former Deputy Minister of Education and Training, said that if the State's economic conditions allow, this is a necessary and reasonable proposal.

As tuition fees for primary school have been removed, secondary schools should be the next step, he said.

The tuition fee exemption will create conditions for all children in the country to be able to go to secondary school, he said.

Currently, the State sets a target that every citizen has to finish secondary-school education level, if we waive the tuition fees for the secondary students, it will be very reasonable, he said.

Data from the ministry shows that the country has 5.5 million secondary students.

Currently, the tuition fee for a secondary student costs an average of VNĐ2 million (US$85) per year.

It means that the State budget will have to spend about VNĐ11 trillion ($468.1 million) each year to implement the proposal.

In response to the proposal, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính assigned relevant agencies to study and evaluate the impact of the proposal.

The Ministry of Finance has been tasked with calculating budget-related issues. Following the spirit directed by the Government and the Prime Minister, it is necessary to review and have a roadmap to adjust tuition fees appropriately, without causing more difficulties for people and students.

Võ Thành Hưng, Deputy Minister of Finance, said he has been working with relevant ministries and localities to make a specific evaluation.

He said being exempted from tuition fees is a legitimate desire.

However, it is necessary to find a way to ensure the budget for the education sector to pay teachers' salaries and invest in facilities.

Previously, the fund to pay teachers’ salaries and invest in facilities came from the State budget and the tuition fees, he said.

He said that the tuition fees for secondary students are now being decided by the People's Councils in localities.

Therefore, the localities are being required to report on the issue, he said.

If we implement the proposal, the localities have to answer the question that whether their budget could bear it or not, he said.

“In case that local budget cannot meet the needs, then there must be support from the central government,” he said. — VNS

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