Low pay thins out pre-school staff in Vietnam metro

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Cash-strapped Ho Chi Minh City pre-schools are short on staff as droves of teachers quit due to low pay.


A total of 442 pre-school teachers and caretakers have quit in the city since September last year, saying their pay is too low for the more than 12 hours of work they put in each, according to the city Department of Education, which met this weekend with city councilors.


More than 300,000 children are attending 750 public and private pre-schools in HCMC, along with nearly 1,100 home-based pre-schools, according to a report by the department cited by news website VnExpress in a story published Monday.


But the city has less than 11,000 teachers and caregivers for it's 9,000 pre-school classes, or fewer than two staff members per class.


Each kindergarten is supposed to have five caretakers in addition to the teacher, the department said.


Tran Thi Kim Thanh, deputy director of the department, said the city's kindergartens need 7,200 more caretakers, 24 more managers and an additional 783 teachers.


But the low pay is prompting more competant educators to quit their jobs and widening the shortage, Thanh said.


She proposed to raise the cleaning fee at pre-schools to VND15,000-20,000 and the day boarding fee to VND150,000-200,000, in order to provide the schools with extra funds.


The current fees, which are four to five times less, have been in effect since 1996 and are thus out of date given the changes the economy has gone through over the last 15 years, Thanh said.


Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, chairwoman of the city People's Council, told the meeting that the departmant needs to submit a detailed plan on how it would use any extra money from the increased fees before any increase is issued.

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