|A shortage of licensed public kindergartens for children of workers in industrial zones (IZs) and export processing zones (EPZs) has put pressure on local authorities. — VNA/VNS Photo
HCM CITY – A shortage of licensed public kindergartens for the children of migrant workers in industrial zones (IZs) and export processing zones (EPZs) is putting pressure on local authorities to solve the problem, according to the Ministry of Education and Training.
Seventeen cities and provinces have industrial zones and export processing zones, with over 50,000 migrant workers. In the south, industrial zones are located in HCM City and Bình Dương, Đồng Nai provinces.
At a conference on Tuesday, an education ministry representative said that more than 1,460 licensed public kindergartens are located near these IZs and EPZs, serving 900,000 children
Of that number, more than 25 per cent are children of migrant workers, and only six cities and provinces have invested in kindergartens inside the IZs and EPZs.
In HCM City, authorities have decided to provide assistance to build or upgrade private kindergartens in industrial parks and export processing zones in districts 2, 7, 12, Bình Chánh, Củ Chi and Nhà Bè until 2020.
The licensed public kindergartens operate only during the day, but workers in IZs and EPZs must work either day or night shifts.
Licensed kindergartens in nearby residential areas have become overloaded, which has forced many workers to send their children to unlicensed childcare facilities.
The poor quality of unlicensed kindergartens poses a risk to children, Vũ Bá Minh, representative of the Ministry of Education and Training, said.
Despite the urgent need to open more kindergartens, plans have not been implemented for various reasons, according to expert Vũ Minh Thanh.
Owners of IZs and EPZs said the new facilities would cost a lot of money, but fees charged at kindergartens must be low because of workers’ incomes.
Delegates at the conference said that tax incentives and loans should be provided to enterprises to build kindergartens.
In recent years, HCM City authorities have extended hours at public kindergartens.
Beginning in September last year, nurseries and kindergartens in Tân Thuận Export Processing Zone in District 7 and Tây Bắc Industrial Park in Củ Chi District extended their working hours to 5:30pm.
All kindergartens in the two districts also extended hours to 5:30pm and to Saturday, instead of the previous Monday through Friday until 4pm.
Overtime services are also now offered 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.
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. – VNS