Regulations needed to end child abuse in Vietnam’s pre-schools

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Viet Nam News/ANN) - Substandard facilities and a shortage of knowledgeable private pre-schools owners are big risks to children’s safety, educational experts said.

Substandard facilities and a shortage of knowledgeable private pre-schools owners are big risks to children’s safety, educational experts said.

Figures on pre-schools from the Ministry of Education and Training showed that there were 4.8 million children between 3 months and 6 years old. Of these, up to 74.5 per cent go to private-run pre-schools due to a serious shortage of public pre-schools.

However, many private pre-schools are substandard. Some aren’t licenced, causing a potential risk to children.

In Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City, more than 120 private pre-schools and 485 households giving childcare services have not been granted operating licences. Many were found to lack a door between the kitchen and the classroom, have substandard toilets, and have power lines and chemicals in low positions that children could reach.

In Hanoi, more than 100,000 out of 515,000 children have to study at private pre-schools, but the quality of the schools remains a problem for authorised agencies.

Nguyen Thi My Trinh of the Vietnam Institute of Education and Sciences said that many schools managed to show their educational management certificates, but teachers failed to answer questions on their profession.

The risk of children being abused would be higher if they were taken care of and taught by teachers who were short on professional knowledge and love for the children, or didn’t have skills to control their professional stress, she said.

Nguyen Thi Kim Anh, deputy head of HCM City’s Central College of Pedagogy, said that the recruitment of pre-school teachers needed to be stricter, as a skillful and qualified teacher would never act violently towards children.

She cited figures from a recent survey undertaken by Hanoi National University, which showed that 90.3 per cent of 333 pre-school teachers suffered from professional stress. The numbers for workers and medical staff were 71 and 27 per cent, respectively.

The professional knowledge of owners of private pre-schools is another problem. Nguyen Thi Thu, vice chairwoman of Duong Noi Ward’s People’s Committee in Hà Nội, said that under current regulations, those who lacked professional knowledge and training about child care were still allowed to set up a pre-school.

Many pre-school owners assigned teachers to take care of children without their supervision. This led to child abuse at some schools, she said.

Nguyen Tung Lam, chairman of the Hanoi Psychological Education Association, said that it was necessary to strengthen regulations on granting licences to private pre-schools. They also needed stricter requirements on pre-school owners, such as college or university degrees.




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