HCMC to waive public school tuition for first semester

By Manh Tung   August 31, 2021 | 04:28 pm PT
HCMC to waive public school tuition for first semester
Students wear masks and face shields while participating in a national high school exam at Trung Vuong High School in HCMC's District 1, July 6, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
HCMC public school students will not have to pay any tuition for the first semester of the 2021-2022 school year that starts next week.

The HCMC People's Committee decided this based on a proposal by the municipal Department of Education and Training.

The tuition waiver would apply to public schools in the city, and the city budget would be used to cover the costs, Nguyen Van Hieu, director of the municipal education department, said Monday.

At private schools, the tuition can be negotiated between schools and parents, the department said. The department also said it had already requested private schools since the beginning of this school year to not increase tuition fees, but many did so anyway, citing costs arising from teaching students during the pandemic.

"They have the legal foundation to raise their fees, but from an ethical standpoint, increasing tuition at this moment in time is inappropriate," Hieu said.

Online challenges

Hieu also said that while the city is expected to continue online classrooms for the first semester of the next school year, many students don't have the equipment and devices necessary to study online. Therefore, the education sector will call on people to share used or spare electronic products like phones, tablets and laptops to help the students. Donations can be made to the schools themselves, he said.

Besides online classrooms, the department has also worked with broadcasters to produce lessons on TV so students could learn them on their own. Students in remote areas should be provided Internet access to learn online as well, he said.

"Right now, 80 percent of teachers in the city have received one Covid-19 vaccine shot. We are working with the municipal Department of Health to vaccinate students aged 12 and above. Once the coronavirus situation is put under control and students and teachers are fully vaccinated, in-person classes can be held," Hieu said.

HCMC is set to have around 1.71 million students and 80,000 teachers and school staff begin a new school year next week.

The southern city, epicenter of Vietnam's fourth novel coronavirus wave, has recorded 221,254 local Covid-19 cases so far. It has imposed a series of social distancing orders, including an ongoing lockdown starting August 23 that bans people from going out entirely.

Da Nang City and Quang Ninh Province have already decided to waive tuition for all students at public schools for the 2021-2022 school year.

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