Ho Chi Minh City parents demand kindergarten access in chaotic registration

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Hundreds of people wait and scramble to register their kid for a kindergarten in Thu Duc district, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Hundreds of people wait and scramble to register their kid for a kindergarten in Thu Duc district, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
Hundreds of parents scrambled to register their kids for kindergarten in Ho Chi Minh City starting at 1am on Friday.
Many who arrived at 5am (two hours before the enrollment was to officially begin) left empty-handed.

The campus of the Hiep Binh Chanh 4 nursery, in Thu Duc district, was full of parents just minutes after midnight on July 11.

Although the school's administration told everyone they would begin enrollment at 7:30 the same morning, the nursery was opened six hours ahead of schedule to begin selling registration documents, which disappeared almost immediately.

This school year the suburban kindergarten enrolled  276 pupils into 5 grades.

“I got to the school at 5am when they said the registered pupils for the 3-year old class has reached 90, far over the quota,” said Nguyen Thi  Linh Chi, the mother of a 3-year old girl.

The quota for pupils of her daughter's age is 70, according to the school management board.

Chaos broke out inside the school yards when late parents began arguing with the school management board, accusing them of having sneakily enrolled others ahead of schedule--a practice they described as wrong and unfair.

The crowd grew louder and angrier until the deputy head of the district’s Department of Education and Training, Nguyen Thi Thuy Nga, appeared at 10:30am and informed them that the enrollment board would admit all the children of parents who were still at the scene.

“The nursery only enrolled pupils into 20 classes, according to our initial plan, since there is a lack of nursery teachers and accommodation in our district. Moreover, the Hiep Binh Chanh 4 is not fully built. However, to satisfy such a high demand, we have asked and received permission from the district People’s Committee to open 4 more classes,” said Nga, adding that the newly-built school will be used for the first time from the coming school year in September.

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