Vietnam's Ministry of Education and Training voiced concerns over the growing population coupled with the lack of schools in the southeastern region, calling for private investors to join the sector at a conference on educational development in southern Binh Duong Province on Tuesday.
Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son said at the event that the southeastern region accounts for more than 19 percent of Vietnam’s population and has the highest rate of population growth and domestic migration in Vietnam while making up less than ten percent of the land area.
Geographically, the southeastern region includes Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai Province, Binh Duong Province, Ba Ria–Vung Tai Province, Binh Phuoc Province, and Tay Ninh Province.
The education and training sector in the region, despite its economic achievements, faces tremendous pressure due to the lack of schools and high demands for quality childcare services in areas with industrial parks and export processing zones.
The number of educational facilities in the region has increased by 1,000 in the past ten years, according to statistics from the ministry.
The most substantial rise is in preschools due to the high demand for childcare among parents of young children.
As these preschoolers grow up, there will be pressure to address the shortage of schools in higher education levels such as elementary, middle, and high school in the coming years.
In Binh Duong, the population rises by over 100,000 people every year, including more than 20,000 students, which will lead to the need to build dozens of new schools, according to provincial chairman Vo Van Minh.
Currently, the province is lacking in more than 2,100 middle school and high school teachers.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the authorities have to spend about VND2 trillion (US$85.2 million) building education facilities every year to reduce the school shortage, accounting for 28 percent of its regular expenditure and 20 percent of the basic construction budget, according to the city’s deputy chairman Bui Xuan Cuong.
In order to help meet the high demand for schools, Nguyen Son Hung, deputy chairman of Dong Nai, proposed there should be preferential policies for the southeastern region.
Binh Duong’s chairman Minh added that clear mechanisms are needed to encourage private investment in education, which is contributing extensively in all educational levels in the province.
Particularly, in the preschool level, private investors meet over 70 percent of the demand.
In his concluding remarks at Tuesday’s event, Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha agreed with the proposals regarding proactively forecasting population growth and schooling needs for overall planning and creating mechanisms to encourage private investments in education in the region, sharing the burden with the public education sector.
Ha tasked the education ministry with finding and proposing solutions to the issue for the central government to consider.
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