HCM CITY (VNS) — Authorities in the city plan to improve and expand assistance programmes for disadvantaged and migrant children whose families do not have temporary or permanent registration books.
Speaking at a meeting held Thursday in HCM City, Associate Professor Nguyen Trong Hoa, head of the HCM City Institute for Development Studies, said many migrant children, child labourers and children suffered from abuse and violence in their families or communities.
Hoa spoke at a High-Level Roundtable Discussion on Children's Issues in HCM City held on Thursday by the HCM City People's Committee in co-operation with UNICEF Viet Nam.
In Viet Nam, the word "migrant" is used to describe residents who were born in another province or major city.
Hoa said the city had attracted many people from other provinces, increasing the city's population to nearly 8 million last year.
Of that figure, the net migration rate was 15.42 per 1,000, compared to the natural rate of increase of 10.04 per 1,000, according to the General Statistics Office.
A city survey conducted in 2009 found that the city had more than 1.8 million children under 16 years old, including nearly 400,000 migrant children.
Over the past decade, the city has achieved about 11 per cent economic growth each year, helping to improve the incomes of many people.
However, many people living in HCM City, who have moved from other provinces and who have not yet qualified for permanent or temporary residential registration, are not eligible for high-quality public services offered by city programmes.
Hua Ngoc Thuan, deputy chairman of the city's People's Committee, said the city had been carrying out many childcare programmes to ensure children's rights, and would expand these services to children whose families had no temporary or permanent residential registration books.
This year, the city plans to build 20 kindergartens at its industrial parks and export-processing zones to meet the demand of workers' children.
Moreover, 153, 000 new classrooms will be built in the 2014-2015 academic year because the number of first-graders had risen by 12,000.
Each year, around 130,000-140,000 classrooms are being built to meet the increasing number of students. Most of them were migrants from other provinces.
The number of children attending kindergarten rose by 35.5 per cent between 2005 and 2012, and by 14.44 per cent for primary school students and 16.77 per cent for secondary school students.
Playgrounds for children have also been built at 319 out of 322 wards and communes. In addition, the city now has 23 cultural houses for children at districts.
Each year, the city also provides health-insurance cards to children, including those with temporary residential books.
These children care programmes helped to reduce the number of disadvantaged children from 4.4 per cent in 2011 to 4.01 per cent in 2013. — VNS