Industrial zones lack childcare facilities

Published: 15/03/2011 05:00



A shortage of kindergartens for the children of migrant workers in HCM City-based industrial zones has put pressure on workers and authorities.

Photo shows a meal being shared in Kindergarten 27 in
HCM City’s Binh Thanh District. Many industrial zones in HCM City lack these
facilities for migrant workers. Building kindergartens for these children is
being treated as urgent.
(Photo: VNS)

Nguyen Kim Thanh, head of the Pre-school
Education Division under the HCM City Department of Education and Training said
that many industrial zones did not have nurseries for workers’ children.

Meanwhile, licensed public and private
kindergartens in nearby residential areas are overloaded, which has forced many
workers to send their children to unlicensed childcare facilities.

There are about 265,000 workers in the
city’s industrial zones, of which up to 65 per cent are migrants and three
fifths of them are female.

The city needed another 30 kindergartens to
meet the demand from this group, according to the municipal Export Processing
and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA).

“There is an urgent need for
kindergartens,” said Bui Hoang Phuong, head of HEPZA’s Construction Management

However, plans to build kindergartens had
not been implemented, due to a number of difficulties, she said.

A lack of investment and safety management
measures had contributed to this, she added.

Industrial zones were also unable to charge
high prices for childcare, as most of their employees were on low salaries, said

Furthermore, public nurseries give priority
to local children, and many of them are already full.

Nguyen Thi Binh, a resident from central
Thanh Hoa Province who has worked in an industrial park for two years said: “My
husband and I earn about VND3 million (US$140) per month. We are forced to send
our baby to an unlicensed baby-sister near our house, which costs VND600,000
($28) per month.”

She said most of her female co-workers also
sent their children to cheap private nurseries.

“Public schools only care for children
during office hours, but sometimes, we have to work until 8 or 9pm at night,”
said Binh.

Binh said that meals for children in cheap
private pre-schools were not guaranteed to be nutritious, hygienic or safe,
because of the low-fees.

“The baby-sitter does not teach my
children. I only expect her to look after them,” Binh said.

Nguyen Thi Hoa, a textile worker from
central Nghe An Province who works in Tan Binh Industrial Zone, decided to send
her two-year-old son to her home town instead of a nursery near her workplace.

“The public schools are a long way from
where we live and charge a lot of money, but small unlicensed facilities are not
safe for our children. My two-year-old son gets diarrhoea at school,” she said.

Ho Xuan Lam, head of HEPZA’s Labour
Management Department said if the State provided loans and cut taxes so
enterprises could build kindergartens, it would solve the problem and encourage
employees to work harder.

Nam News

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