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Factory workers struggle with childcare

By Hong Chieu   October 8, 2022 | 12:53 am PT
Factory workers struggle with childcare
Migrant workers leave Hanoi with their children ahead of the Lunar New Year in January, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
The lack of public schools, high costs of private education and working overtime have placed factory workers in Vietnam in a nursery crisis.

Vietnam has about 4.1 million workers employed at 291 industrial zones, with the increasing labor force in big cities placing pressure on the preschool system.

In many cases, workers must send their children to unlicensed, untrained nannies who operate from their own homes, with fees arranged on individual basis, Vietnam General Confederation of Labor announced at a conference this week in Ho Chi Minh City.

The northern port city of Hai Phong has 16 industrial zones, with no nursery, and 190,000 of 308,000 employees being female.

Most workers are of reproductive age, and the need to send their children to daycare is very high, Pham Thu Thuong, deputy head of the propaganda unit of the Women's Labor Union of Hai Phong, said at the conference.

"Where to send children to go to work becomes a daily concern," Thuong said.

Hai Phong has 330 public and private kindergartens, 280 private facilities licensed to provide childcare services, but over 115,200 preschool children, she said.

Besides, many teachers at public preschools have already quit their jobs because of low pay and unacceptable working allowance, she added.

Thuong said it is very difficult for migrant workers, who only have temporary residence permits, to send their children to public schools.

Public preschools typically operate during "office" hours, putting them out of reach of those working around the clock shifts. Private schools, in turn, are expensive.

In HCMC, of nearly 170,000 female workers in industrial parks and export processing zones, 35% are raising more than 8,800 children under six years old, said Le Thi Kim Thuy, deputy head of the city’s Labor Union.

The city currently has over 1,300 kindergartens, including 468 public ones, with most located in residential areas.

There are only 24 facilities located near the city’s 17 industrial parks and export processing zones.

 
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