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It's time for Hanoi's Kinderfest.

Every July, for the past five years, parents with children between the ages of three and six drag out stools, paper fans, newspapers for the long night ahead.

Hammocks bind trees in front of the kindergartens like fat telephone wires, broadcasting the event.

Parents and grandparents have to take turns lining up from dawn to dusk to secure a place for their little ones. Octogenarians begin elbowing septuagenarians out of the way the minute the schools start distributing applications.

It's such a common story that Hanoi's education department seems to consider it something of a rite of passage. They haven't addressed it for years.

"I'm upset that Hanoi is planning many big projects, but across the city people are distressed about getting a proper place at school for their children," said a grandpa of

Parents queue up outside a kindergarten in Hanoi for application forms for their children four who said he has followed the "annual practice" for the past four years.

The Department of Education has said that public kindergartens only meet around 50 percent of local demand. Six wards in the city center lack public kindergartens altogether.

But anyone in line for the kinderfest could tell you that.

What they want to know is when and how such a practice will come to an end in a city with the country's leading educational performance.

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