Viet Nam News
HCM CITY— Phan Thanh Tiền can now focus on his work at a garment company in HCM City’s Củ Chi District as his 4 ½-year-old son is being taken care of at an officially licensed public kindergarten in the industrial park where he works.
“The Tây Bắc Kindergarten is just opposite to where I and my wife work. It’s very convenient for us to pick him up,” Tiền said.
During previous school years, Tiền had sent his son to a privately owned kindergarten, but, even though it had received a license from the city, the space was too small and hot, he said.
At Tây Bắc Kindergarten, 106 children are enrolled, 80 per cent of whom are daughters and sons of workers at the industrial park.
In Bình Tân District, Nguyễn Thị Thanh Toàn, principal at the April 30 Kindergarten in Vĩnh Lộc Industrial Park, said that 80 of its 362 kids are children of workers.
The number of workers’children attending the school rose by 30 compared to last year, Toàn added.
“Because many workers live in the industrial park’s apartment building or near the park, they want their children at the kindergarten,” she added.
Ngô Văn Tuyên, head of the Education and Training Division in Bình Tân District, said that since workers contributed to the city’s economic development, the city’s responsibility was to ensure there were kindergartens and schools for their children located near or in industrial parks.
Last year, more public kindergartens such as Mai Vàng, Tân Tạo, Tân Tạo A and Đỗ Quyên began providing care services for children of workers in industrial parks.
“For this academic year, three more public kindergartens Thiên Tế, Cát Đằng, and Hồng Ngọc are being built near Pou Yuen Industrial Park in the district and will open next year,” he said.
At a conference on building schools for the 2017-2018 academic year in HCM City held in mid-August, deputy head of the city’s Department of Education and Training, Lê Hoài Nam, said the city has 17 public kindergartens in or near its industrial parks and processing export zones.
In 2016, the city People’s Committee approved a pilot programme at kindergartens at industrial parks and processing export zones that extended hours to 5:30pm and to Saturday, instead of the previous Monday through Friday until 4pm, for children of factory workers who work overtime at the IPs and zones.
The pilot services began at kindergartens in the Linh Trung 1 and 2 export processing zones in Thủ Đức District and the April 30 Kindergarten in Vĩnh Lộc Industrial Zone in Bình Tân District.
In the 2017-18 academic year, two more HCM City districts provide overtime services for workers who have kids at nurseries and kindergartens in Tân Thuận Export Processing Zone in District 7 and Tây Bắc Industrial Park in Củ Chi District.
Fifty per cent of overtime charges are paid by the city’s State budget, while the remaining 50 per cent comes from parents’payments and support from companies.
Teachers who have voluntarily registered to work overtime are paid VNĐ33,000 (US$1.5) per hour for Monday through Friday and VNĐ44,000 ($2) per hour for Saturday.
Lê Hoàng An of Mekong Delta Province of Tiền Giang, who works at a company in the Vĩnh Lộc Industrial Park and has a three-year-old son, said that overtime services at the April 30 Kindergarten had been helpful.
“In the past, I often brought my child to the company on Saturday because no one at home could take care of him,” he said, adding that sometimes he sent his child to the house of a relative or neighbour.
Nguyễn Đình Duy, who works at a company in District 6, said: “I send my two children to the care services and overtime services at the April 30 Kindergarten. I no longer worry about picking them up when my wife and I work late.”
Tiền of Đồng Tháp Province said that he would plan to use overtime services at the Tây Bắc Kindergarten if he has to work extra hours.
Võ Thị Vững, principal of Tây Bắc Kindergarten, said the number of kids using overtime services at the kindergarten was still not high, possibly because the service was still new and workers were still concerned about quality.
Only four kids are being taken care of until 5:30pm or 6:30pm on Monday through Friday, so the kindergarten is free to take care of kids during overtime hours.
“We are ready for the workers’kids,” she added.
Toàn of the April 30 Kindergarten said that overtime services were only allowed for kids aged 3 to 5, so workers with younger children must send them to family-based nursery establishments.
Overtime services are expected to be offered at all industrial parks and export processing zones in the city during the 2018-19 school year.
Tuyên of Bình Tân District said the city should have more preferential policies for the private sector to build standard kindergartens in or near industrial parks and export processing zones in the city to ensure safety for workers’ kids. —VNS