Compulsory pre-school education brings change to Mekong Delta

The National Plan to implement compulsory pre-school education for five-year-old children for the period 2010-2015 has changed awareness towards education in the Mekong Delta Region.

The Ministry of Education and Training now plans to ask the Government to allocate land and funds from the state budget to develop pre-school education in the Mekong Delta, the nation’s food granary.

After two years of implementation of the plan in the Mekong Delta, there are now tens of nursery schools and thousands of new upgraded classrooms.

Upto now Vinh Long Province has 15 and Can Tho City has 25 schools, that meet national standards.

Education authorities in Bac Lieu Province said that most of the communes in the province have pre-schools and kindergartens, including four private ones.

Hau Giang Province has 81 pre-schools and 58 private facilities; however there is dire need of more schools, teachers and teaching equipment here. To overcome these shortcomings, authorities are encouraging communities to join hands in building more schools including 11 kindergartens in Districts Chau Thanh, Chau Thanh A, Long My, Vi Thuy, Phung Hiep and Vi Thanh Town.

Along with building more schools, authorities are recruiting and training more teachers. There will be proper policies to support teachers who can make ends meet with their basic salary.

As per the plan, provinces will recruit around 33,984 teachers for carrying out compulsory education and develop the nursery school educational system.

Schools will review teachers’ skills from which authorities will plan to train them accordingly. In addition, authorities will coordinate with universities in the region to increase annual training quota to supply more teachers for the region.

Many classrooms in pre-schools here are still built of thatch and bamboo, accounting for 30 percent of total number of available classrooms, especially in Hau Giang Province where seven communes have no pre-schools at all.

Shortage of teachers is also a growing concern. In 2012-2013, Can Tho City reported a shortfall of 292 teachers and 41 managers; Tra Vinh Province needs 118 managers and 177 teachers; while Vinh Long and Hau Giang need 232 and 502 teachers and managers. 

Besides, teachers’ skills are not equal because pedagogy training facilities supply very few teachers annually that cannot meet the required need.

According to the Ministry of Education and Training, local governments have to look at pre-school education as a basis for development and then call for investments in this sector. But first, local governments should reserve land for building schools and laboratory facilities.

By H Trang, N. Bích – Translated by Uyen Phuong

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