Severe shortage of preschools, teachers in Mekong Delta

Severe shortage of teachers, inadequate facilities and lack of teaching equipment in pre-schools are a major problem in many parts of the Mekong Delta region.

A temporary pre-school classroom in Long Tri Commune of Long My District in Hau Giang Province (Photo: SGGP)

Hau Giang Province has seven communes with no properly built pre-schools. Out of its 675 classrooms, 115 are thatched or made out of bamboo, some even on the verge of collapse.

Similarly, pre-schools without electricity, clean water, toilet facilities and open play yards are a common sight in Can Tho City, Vinh Long, An Giang, Soc Trang, Ca Mau and Bac Lieu Provinces.

The region needs up to 2,284 teachers for preschools, as 15 per cent of the existing teachers there are not even adequately trained.

Leaders in the education sector in the region are fretting as various projects to develop preschools are taking a long time to carry out, with one reason being lack of funds.

So far the region has built more than 20,300 classrooms, covering   82 per cent of the plan. The state budget has disbursed a total VND2,600 billion ($124,640) for the period of 2008-2011, but this amount is still running short.

The region has 769 temporary classrooms and students in Soc Trang, Kien Giang, Dong Thap, An Giang, Tra Vinh and Ca Mau have to study in temporary classrooms in borrowed space of other schools.

Upgrade plans to improve classrooms in the region are facing many obstacles as the government has only provided VND160 million ($7,670) for construction of classrooms, while there is requirement for VND300 million.

Bui Van Ga, deputy minister of Education and Training, said the ministry will push up disbursement for the project to upgrade pre-schools and for building houses for teachers, to help the region complete its target.

Special policies and funds will be provided soon for the literacy program for children of five years of age.

By Ham Luong, Dinh Tuyen - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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