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Migrant workers call for nursery schools

Update: June, 06/2014 - 09:30
The Mat Troi Nho Nursery School of Pou Yuen Co., Ltd. that opened in Binh Tan District in June last year.— Photo nld

HCM CITY (VNS) — Phan Thi Kieu Nuong, a worker at Pou Yuen Company in Binh Tan District, paid tuition of VND2 million (US$95) last year for her four-year old son to attend a private kindergarten.

The fee accounted for 20 per cent of the total income that she and her husband earned every month.

"We could hardly have any savings or send money to help aging parents due to high living costs in the city as well as high tuition," she said. "I could not work overtime as no one could take care of my son after school."

Despite high tuition, she was worried about the quality of private schools where facilities, teaching methods and nutrition are not strictly supervised.

Her concern was resolved when she sent her son to Mat Troi Nho Nursery School of Pou Yuen Co., Ltd. opened in Binh Tan District in June last year.

She paid only VND700,000 (US$34) per month as the company supports part of the tuition for workers.

The school was built at a cost of more than US$2.5 million by Pou Yuen Company, and teaching activities are provided by the Binh Tan International Nursery School.

The 5,000sq.m school with more than 20 classrooms can receive 700 children aged two to five.

Thai Minh Chi, the company's deputy general director, said that workers found it convenient as the school is located at the company and the schedule suited their work shifts.

"It will make workers be more loyal to the company as their children have a good place to learn," Chi said.

Migrant female workers accounted for 81 per cent of the total employees at the company, he said, adding that most of them could not take care of their children and had to send their children back to their hometowns.

Huge unmet demand

The demand for preschool education among children of workers is enormous, said Tran Cong Khanh, chairman of the Federation of Trade Union of HCM City IPs and EPZs.

More than 1,050 enterprises are operating at 15 IPs and EPZs in HCM City and employ more than 287,600 labourers, according to the HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zone Authority.

Of that figure, female workers account for 61 per cent and migrant workers 70 per cent.

"With an average income of VND4-5 million (US$190-240) per month, workers at IPs and EPZs still have a tough life and fail to make ends meet," Khanh said.

The number of nursery schools in industrial parks and export processing zones account for only 2.1 per cent of the total 13,700 schools nationwide, according to a research issued in March by the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour.

The research was last year conducted in seven cities and provinces, including Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Da Nang and HCM City and the provinces of Thanh Hoa, Dong Nai and Binh Duong.

A total of 184 industrial parks and export processing zones are operating nationwide, employing nearly two million labourers.

Because of the shortage of nursery schools in HCM City, most of the workers' children stay in their hometowns in other provinces. — VNS

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