|Students study music at the Hiển Vinh Primary School in the southern province of Vũng Tàu. The province lacks hundreds of pre-school teachers. — Photo baobariavungtau.com.vn|
BÀ RỊA-VŨNG TÀU — Public pre-schools in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu are in need hundreds of teachers due to recruitment difficulties that have affected the quality of teaching and care.
According to Châu Đức District’s education and training division, the district had 105 unfilled positions for kindergarten teachers at the beginning of the 2017-2018 academic year.
The district announced the recruitment of 70 pre-school teachers in February last year, but received 26 dossiers. While it was struggling to enrol more staff, 24 teachers quit.
Nguyễn Văn Trực, deputy head of the district’s education and training division, blamed the shortage of teachers on the fact that the salary for fresh graduate teachers in public kindergartens is about VNĐ3.2 million (US$138) per month, lower than the income of some manual workers.
In addition to caring for children, teachers have other tasks like the cleaning classrooms, preparing lesson plans and making toys.
“As a kindergarten teacher, I usually arrive at school at 6:30am and take care of 30 children until 5:30pm,” Nguyễn Hạnh Đoan, a teacher at Ánh Dương Kindergarten, was quoted by Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu newspaper as saying. “I often have lunch at the class and make lesson plans at night.”
Despite having 12 years of experience, she earns just about VNĐ6 million ($259) per month.
According to Đoan, besides the love for children, it is necessary for kindergarten teachers to have good health and the ability to cope with stressful situations and work under pressure.
Teachers need sympathy and support from their families; otherwise, they may not stay with the job.
Nguyễn Tấn Bản, deputy chairman of the Châu Đức District People’s Committee, said that after graduating, students from teachers’ colleges preferred working at places offering high incomes in cities with favourable policies or at private schools rather than in disadvantaged areas.
A similar problem was also reported in Xuyên Mộc District and Phú Mỹ Town.
In spite of announcing recruitment plans in September last year, the district still needs nearly 100 more teachers.
Preventing teachers from quitting is also a big challenge for local authorities.
Many pre-school teachers move to the district’s centre or to other cities after teaching in remote areas for a short time.
Due to the serious shortage of teachers, the district can only provide one teacher per class instead of the required two in a number of classes.
Local kindergartens had to hire new teachers on short-term contracts while their staff mobilised to provide childcare.
Nguyễn Tấn Hậu, head of Xuyên Mộc District’s Education and Training Division, said the shortage of teachers – especially in pre-schools – had become a pressing issue over the past three years.
Although the recruitment process has been simplified, it is still difficult to attract teachers.
To overcome the situation, students from teachers’ colleges have been sent to kindergartens with acute shortages.
The provincial authority plans to make great efforts to enrol more staff to meet demand.
Bản, the deputy chairman of Châu Đốc District’s People’s Committee, suggested the authority offer a special mechanism to improve teachers’ living conditions and encourage them to work in disadvantaged areas.
The salary and allowance for teachers, particularly those working in kindergartens, should be raised to allow them to focus on their jobs, he said.
Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu is not only the province suffering from a shortage of teachers. Many other localities are facing the same problem.
Statistics of the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) showed that cities and provinces lacked nearly 76,000 teachers as of August 15.
The most serious shortage was seen at the kindergarten level, which needs 40,000 more teachers, said Nguyễn Thị Nghĩa, Deputy Minister of Education.
The deputy minister said that as the population has increased, the number of teachers has also increased, but not at a fast enough rate to accommodate the growing number of students, especially in urban areas and industrial and processing zones.
In recent years, provincial-level education sectors have not been able to hire enough permanent staff as the entire Government has sought to streamline payrolls.
She said the ministry has requested localities continuously review local school systems to make appropriate arrangements in order to improve the condition. — VNS