No matter how expensive it is, many Vietnamese families willingly pay for their children’s education in spite of their tight money situation.
Vietnamese parents commonly seek the best education for their children while sacrificing their own needs, said Dr. Le Thi Mai Lien, head of the psychology faculty at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities.
Cutting down on all expenditures but for children’s education
As soon as her two children enter the new school year earlier this month, a 43-year-old woman named N.T.T., who resides in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City, had to calculate her family’s expenditure to balance their spending and saving.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, T. and her husband's total income decreased by more than VND20 million (approximately US$818) per month, so they have to tighten their belt to stabilize the investment in their children’s education.
Years ago when their family was still financially solvent, they would frequently travel, eat out, go to the movies, and go shopping.
But at present, T. has to wake up early to cook breakfast for the whole family, lunch with food brought from home, and wander around the city during holidays without picking up anything.
Though T. could send her kid to many other schools or study programs at a more affordable price, she entrusted her bright first daughter’s future to the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City’s International Business Department because “investing in education is like laying the foundation stone for a bright future,” said T.
The other child, who is a brilliant 10-year-old student, is taking courses at an exam preparation center to be able to attend a school for the gifted next year.
Meanwhile, N.T.M., 40, a resident in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 10, said she has furthered the investment in her two daughters’ education despite the family’s economic dilemma as “they are both in their senior year."
“The first 18 years of a child’s life are extremely important because they decide the future. Parents may cut back on all investments, except their spending on children’s well-being and learning,” she said.
M. is also paying for her kids’ other extra courses namely piano, drawing, and English at the British Council.
The savings that she and her husband accumulated in the past have gradually been spent on their children’s schooling.
Saving by dwelling in dilapidated apartment
Like the two parents above, N.H.Q., 46, an average civil servant who lives at a deteriorating apartment building in District 3, also sinks money into her two children’s learning.
Instead of dwelling in a VND15 billion ($613,000) house, she and her husband opted for a degraded flat in order to save money for their children’s academic path, which costs up to VND1 billion ($40,900) per year.
The couple agreed to prioritize enriching their children with knowledge over costly assets like houses in the belief that good education investment results in bright prospects.
“Fortunately, the children understand their parents’ hearts and study hard,” Q. said proudly, thinking that their initial choice was right.
However, Dr. Lien said children who are provided with the best educational environment alongside adequate facilities are unlikely to thrive in the future without being equipped with self-reliance, the ability to address issues, or experiencing some hardships in their lives.