Viet Nam News
HÀ TĨNH — Hundreds of toddlers have been unable to enroll at public kindergartens in Hà Tĩnh Province this school year due to a serious shortage of teachers.
Nguyễn Văn Tư from Thạch Linh Ward in Hà Tĩnh City woke her three-year-old grandson up earlier than usual to get ready for the first day at kindergarten on Monday. After they arrived at Thạch Linh kindergarten, they were dumbfounded to learn that there were no seats for the boy in any of the classes.
“While kids the same age as my grandson were taken to their classes, my grandson had to leave with many other kids,” Tư told online newspaper Dân Trí.
“The kindergarten explained that the number of enrolled students had been cut because of a teacher shortage.”
The family later found out that Thạch Linh kindergarten opened just 10 classes this year, of which two classes were available for 50 three-year-olds. The number of three-year-old children in the ward, meanwhile, stood at 127, meaning that 77 children were unable to attend.
The same issue was reported at Tân Giang kindergarten in the city’s Tân Giang Ward when the enrollment quota for three-year-olds was just 16 despite 59 kids living in the area.
Kindergartens in the Kỳ Anh Township which is located about 60km to the south of Hà Tĩnh City were also struggling with complaints from parents whose kids were refused a spot in class.
“It has been tense for us for the last few days. The parents took the kids to enroll but we couldn’t receive them because we didn’t have enough teachers,” Hoa Mai kindergarten principal Phùng Thị Anh told online newspaper Infonet.
Before this school year, kindergartens in Hà Tĩnh had yearly contracts with teachers to guarantee there were sufficient teachers for all children, Anh said. Salaries for the teachers were paid by the parents, but a decision issued by the Hà Tĩnh Department of Education and Training in October last year changed everything. The decision No 1449 completely banned the collection of money from parents to pay for contracted teachers.
“We are not allowed to do that anymore so there is nothing we can do but to end contracts with the teachers. That also means we lack teachers to teach the kids,” she said.
Anh said that there were 100 three-year-old toddlers in Kỳ Anh who could not attend her kindergarten this year.
“And it also happens in other kindergartens across Kỳ Anh Township. Each is short of around 10 to 12 teachers,” she added.
Hà Tĩnh City Education and Training Division deputy head Trần Thị Thúy Nga said that such enrollment chaos was expected when the decision in question came into effect.
Explaining why most of the rejected kids were three years old, Nga said that the kindergartens gave the utmost priority to five-year-old children to better prepare them for primary school next year, followed by four-year-olds. Enrollment of kids of three and younger would depend on the kindergartens’ infrastructure and number of teachers.
And because of a severe shortage of teachers this school year, there are currently 300 more than the enrollment quota, Nga said.
“Taking the kids to private kindergartens will be more than many families can afford. So far the division has asked the municipal education department and the People’s Committee for solutions,” she said. — VNS