|HCM City authorities have encouraged investors to reserve land to build daycare facilities and kindergartens for workers' children.— Photo laodong
HCM CITY (VNS) — The chairwoman of the HCM City's People's Council said the city would build more kindergartens for children of workers at industrial parks and export processing zones.
Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, National Assembly deputy and chairwoman of the city's People's Council, said the need was urgent to meet the workers' increased demand.
She spoke at a meeting with workers at Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone in District 7 on Sunday.
Kinder for 400
Bui Thi Ngoc Hieu, vice chairwoman of the People's Committee in District 7, said the district in March began building a kindergarten in Tan Thuan Industrial Park. It is expected to open by the end of the year and will accommodate 400 to 500 children.
Hieu said that one or two more preschools should also be built to meet demand.
Student openings at public kindergartens in large cities like HCM City and Ha Noi are often restricted. Priority is given to children of local residents, not to migrant workers from other provinces without permanent residential status.
A residential permit would give migrant families legal access to public preschools, which are cheaper than private ones.
However, if a migrant workers' landlord is willing to agree to sign a document verifying where they live, the workers can then obtain "temporary residential" status.
This allows them to apply at a public school. But such agreements are not very common. Therefore, the workers have to choose licensed private schools, which are scarce and unaffordable.
More than 26 million migrant workers are employed at more than 300 industrial parks and export processing zones, according to figures from the city's People's Committee.
Manufacturers tend to hire workers from remote provinces because the employees are willing to be flexible and work for low pay. Businesses, in turn, benefit from lower costs and higher productivity.
The provision of daycare for migrant workers' children has become a thorny issue for both businesses and government.
HCM City authorities have encouraged investors to reserve land to build daycare facilities and kindergartens for workers' children.
The city government has also reduced taxes and offered long-term, no-interest loans and free teacher training as part of its pre-school education privatisation policy.
Cost of living
One of the most pressing concerns for workers is rent.
Huynh Huu Phuoc, a worker at Nidec Tosok Company, said though the city leaders had encouraged landlords not to increase their rent and provide electricity and water support, only a few landlords had obeyed.
Workers have asked city administrators to build dormitories in industrial parks and export processing zones, as the southern province of Binh Duong has done.
Worker Au Lap Dan from Nidec Tosok Company said that the city should also build kindergartens in Tan Thuan Park.
Workers have also asked the city to impose harsh penalties on companies that collect social insurance from workers but do not pay the government.
Another worker, Huynh Tan Tai, said their salaries should guarantee workers a decent standard of living.
At the meeting, Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, chairwoman of the city's People's Council, listened to workers' ideas and asked the district authorities in industrial parks and export processing zones to help workers with rent, electricity and water costs.
On this occas-ion, Tam offered 20 gifts to low-income families. — VNS