Schools milk parents dry by demanding unauthorized fees
Updated : 10/08/2012 15:02 GMT + 7
Schools in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have charged a clutch of fees, ranging from allowances for hard-working teachers to wages for cleaning workers, since the beginning of this school year even though the law on education stipulates that K-12 students only have to pay tuition and admission fees.
Many kindergartens in the southern city’s District 6 demanded a variety of dues from parents, including payments for teaching aids, equipment for boarding services, breakfast management, meals, and others.
“Parents have had to pay much more than last year,” a mother complained.
Phuoc Binh, a preschool in District 9, last week asked parents for the so-called ‘quality improvement fee’ while students at another in District 1 were recently requested to pay for the paving of class walls.
A school in District 12 listed as many as sixteen different kinds of fee to be collected from students at the beginning of this academic year – which fell early last month – among which were costs of sanitation, school equipment repairs, English lab maintenance, and even extra-curricular activity organization.
In the northern capital, it was found during a recent inspection by the local people’s council that thirteen of the thirty-five inspected schools collected a matrix of fees besides the authorized tuition and admission charge.
The unauthorized charging included fees for students’ portraits, diploma templates, test question duplication, reference books, reminding cards, and ‘uniform’ pens and notebooks.
Some schools even required students to pay for hiring people to regulate traffic at the school gate, to clean the schoolyard, and to water the campus trees.
Others called for contributions from parents to grant allowances to hard-working teachers and retain those who have yielded good performance.
Despite the collection of such wide-ranging fees, school managers have continually whined that is not enough for them.
“We still cannot afford our operations simply with those fees,” a preschool principal said.