After-school care eases burdens on busy parents

Published: 04/04/2011 05:00



While children generally finish school between 4.30 and 5pm,
their parents often do not leave their offices until half an hour or so later.
This has led to the flourishing of after-school care for kids in HCM City, a
service common in the West.

Many parents find it
hard to manage time to pick up their children after school. A pick-up service is
considered a good solution, but concerns about the quality of the service
(Photo: VNS)

most of the services offered are professional and the children are looked after
with knowledge and care, a few others are run by amateurs, where standards can
be much lower. A few of these are run by people of goodwill who do not even
charge parents.

But the
mainstream providers, by and large, are providing an invaluable service. Parents
can either collect their children as soon as they finish work, or they can leave
them until much later.

If they
decide to leave them later, the children are helped complete their homework and
are given a nutritious snack.

Meanwhile, the parents can go home, take their
time to prepare a family dinner, and either collect their child or have it
brought home by taxi at say 8pm.

leaves the rest of the evening for playtime!

daughter leaves school at 5pm every day, but both my husband and I have to leave
the office late, so we cannot pick her up,” says Phan Thi Thong Nhat who lives
in Tan Binh District.

months ago, after hearing there was a centre which took care of children after
school, she decided to use the service.

from the Happy Back Home centre are present at the school at exactly 5pm every
day to pick up children by taxi.

They take them to the centre, where they can
relax, have a bath, drink milk and eat a light meal until they have the main one
at home.

At 6pm,
children begin studying with teachers who show them how to do homework exercises
and other work. The teaching sessions at Happy Back Home finish at 8pm.

“I have
only one thing to do: to collect my child at 8pm. She doesn’t have to study at
home any more, because she finishes her work at the centre. Therefore, we have
more time to talk with her during dinner, something we could not do in the
past,” Nhat says.

total amount Nhat pays for the service is VND1,6 million (US$80) a month, which,
according to her, is well worth it. In the past, tutoring lessons after school
alone cost her VND1,5 million ($75) a month.

But, not
all after-school child-care services are so professional. Phan Minh Anh, who
lives in Go Vap District, spends VND600,000 ($30) a month for a similar service.

service provider is a retired state employee and loves children,” Anh says.

But Anh
is a little bit worried about the service, because the child-care centre is a
small room crammed with students. The light meals are basic and the service
providers are not trained teachers. However, Anh says she does not have any
other choice.

Dong Thi
Minh, a parent from Phu Nhuan District, says she relies on the service provided
by a kindergarten teacher.

However, one day she left the office early and went
to the kindergarten to pick up her child. When she got there, she saw a
motorbike carrying five children aged from three to five.

“I saw
my child sitting behind the motorbike driver, with no seat belt. It was
terrible,” she said.

worry about amateur services is that power sockets are usually within the reach
of children. And teachers often do not spend much time taking care of children,
because they are doing their own housework.

The most
ideal solution for keeping children after school hours is that schools provide
extra services.

Dang Thi
Nguyet Anh, a teacher at the Ben Thanh Kindergarten, says with the service she
can have a little more income, nearly VND1 million ($50) a month, but she has to
stay at the school until 6.30pm and asks her parents to pick up her own

Meanwhile, Huynh Thanh Hang, a teacher at the Mam Xanh Kindergarten which does
not provide the service, says most of teachers at her school do not want to work
overtime. “We do not have enough health for the work, and we need time for
resting to recover,” she says.

Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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