HCMC sets up public nurseries for 6-month-old children

Thanh Nien News

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Children learn to fold handkerchiefs at a nursery in Ho Chi Minh City. 
Children from six months of age will be admitted to public nurseries in Ho Chi Minh City, which have only accepted kids older than 18 months, as authorities of the industrial hub try to meet the urgent need of many local working families.  
The decision was made after local residents voiced deep concerns over the lack of nursery schools, especially those for kids under 18 moths of age, which has given rise to illegal and unqualified childcare facilities. A few cases of child fatalities and maltreatments took place in such facilities over the past years.
The project will be carried out in the next school year, which started in this September, first in suburban districts and by 2016 will cover all 24 districts, according to the Education and Training Department. 
The local government will invest VND30 billion in improving infrastructure at existing nurseries and training of teachers. 
The city of 8 million has 419 nursery schools and kindergarten which can admit only 52 percent of local children from 18 months old, according to the department. It said only 18 nurseries, all of them private, accept kids from six months of age.
The need for nurseries for children under 18 months old is even more urgent among migrant parents working in industrial zones, most of which located in the suburban districts of the city.
The department said it will open in June training courses to help teachers at nursery schools involved in the project acquire necessary skills to care for children from 6 six months of age. They will also receive incentives in terms of salary insurance premiums, it said.
In January this year, two babysitters in Thu Duc District were three years in jail each for hitting children in their private nursery.
Another babysitter at an unlicensed daycare service in Thu Duc District is in detention pending trial for manslaughter after she beat an 18 month old child to death after failing to stop him from crying. She faces a sentence of between 12 years in jail and the death penalty.

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