A seminar on international experiences in developing policies to ensure the quality of early childhood education (ECE) and some models of implementation in Vietnam was organized by the Ministry of Education and Training in Hanoi yesterday.
Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son said that Vietnam is building a new ECE program emphasizing that ECE is the first level of education in the national education system and early childhood development lays the foundations for learning and comprehensive human development. ECE aims for a child’s comprehensive physical and emotional development to form a child’s personality; hence, this is a particularly important level of education.
As a result, the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam pays special attention and investment to this level of education.
At present, the public ECE schools are invested in by the government and tuition fees are subsidized by the State whereas non-public ECE schools have not received regular financial support from the state budget.
Private preschools are established for profit purposes by businesspersons with relatively high tuition fees; thereby, they are only suitable for families with good or high incomes.
Daycare centers run by families at home with poor facilities and untrained caregivers but low tuition fees and flexible class hours have attracted meager-income parents.
Notably, at present, roughly 1,226,961 teachers are working in preschools and general education levels across the country. Amongst them, there are some 368,968 preschool teachers comprising 271,073 teachers in public schools and 97,895 teachers in non-public facilities. Out of a total of 271,073 public preschool teachers, 256,020 teachers have official payrolls while 15,053 teachers work on contracts with schools. Generally, the country is lacking 44,068 preschool teachers. The life of preschool teachers is still difficult which has been reported in recent times. Preschool teachers' salaries are too low, many people can't make ends meet.
The Ministry of Education and Training proposed that the Government submit to the National Assembly for promulgation of the Law on Teachers to create a legal corridor for the policies and laws on teacher recruitment to improve the quality of education. There should be regulations on the retirement age of preschool teachers in line with their work characteristics.
As per the Ministry’s proposal, teachers should be given the highest salaries in the administrative payroll and additional allowances depending on teachers’ the type of work and duties which a teacher may perform at their place of employment and the region they live.
Specifically, the Ministry suggested newly recruited teachers should receive second-grade salary.
In its proposal, the Ministry said that contract teachers’ salaries should not be lower than the average salary of enterprises in the same area and they should be eligible for preferential allowances for occupations and seniority allowances as teachers on the payroll. Moreover, they must be paid social insurance according to regulations.
The Ministry of Education and Training also proposed to the Government a plan to regulate the allowance for ECE. For instance, ECE teachers are enjoying the preferential allowance at 35 percent and 50 percent; the Ministry proposed to raise the preferential allowance to 70 percent. Additionally, ECE teachers who are working in an area with extremely difficult socio-economic conditions should be entitled to a full preferential allowance.
The seminar was held directly and online with the participation of representatives of ministries, central agencies, leaders of people's committees and departments of Education and Training in 30 provinces and cities, universities and colleges with ECE training and international organizations including World Bank, Unicef, Save the Children, VVOB, ChildFund, Plan International, and Onesky organization.