Wednesday, May 12 2021

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City to increase financial support for preschool teachers

Update: April, 12/2021 - 18:06

 

A preschool teacher and her students during playtime in HCM City’s Bình Thạnh District. – VNS Photo Diệp Phan

HCM CITY – The HCM City People’s Council has revised plans to improve the salaries of new preschool teachers in an effort to address the shortage of teachers at local preschools.

New graduates working in public preschools will continue to receive financial support to 2025.

Under the plan, new preschool teachers will continue to receive monthly support of VNĐ3 million (US$130) in the first working year, or 100 per cent of their base salary.

In the second year, support will be 70 per cent of the base salary and in the third year 50 per cent.

Preschools in the city recruit about 600 teachers a year, so the city needs about VNĐ20 billion ($870.26) to carry out the plan.

The original plan, which began in 2014, helped triple the number of preschool teachers in the city to 1,205 in 2019, according to the city’s Department of Education and Training.

However, the city now needs 871 preschool teachers working under formal contracts and 3,561 babysitters.

To attract more preschool teachers, the council has revised the plan to improve their income. Preschool teachers who have signed labour contracts of under 12 months will receive nine months of monthly support equal to the minimum monthly wage for workers in Region I, or VNĐ4.42 million ($191.39).  Contracted babysitters will receive half of that.

The number of preschool students in recent years in the city has increased by about 10,000 per year, putting great pressure on schools and teachers.

Many teachers quit because of the hard work and low salaries. Teaching preschoolers requires special skills, including dancing, singing and storytelling.

Teachers must also ensure both educational quality and student safety. Work hours typically range from nine to 10 hours a day with no overtime pay.

"The intense workload and burden of keeping students safe can cause chronic stress, which undermines the health of pre-school teachers," Hồ Thị Kim Ngân, deputy head of the Labour Relations Department under the Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour, has said.

The confederation has asked the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to classify preschool teaching as "arduous, dangerous labour" to allow teachers to retire early.

If approved, male teachers would retire at 57 and females at 55, five years earlier than usual. The lower retirement age would also keep the workforce young, Ngân said.

Phạm Thị Ngọc Lan, 52, a teacher at Cần Thạnh Preschool in Cần Giờ District, agreed with the early retirement proposal.

"Everyone thinks this job is all fun and games, but it's really tough," she said.

Lan said that dealing with demanding parents can be intense and often threatening, especially when children suffer minor injuries from falls or fights with others. As a result, many young teachers are unsure about working until retirement age.

Việt Nam regularly faces preschool teacher shortages, with 45,000 currently needed, Minister of Education and Training Phùng Xuân Nhạ has said. – VNS

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