COVID-19 news
Students at a kindergarten in HCM City before all the schools were forced to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak. — Photo courtesy of the HCM City Party Committee

The owners of the schools are struggling to pay expenses, including building maintenance and upkeep, interest on loans, as well as the salaries for teachers. 

Preschool students cannot go to school at this time, nor can they study online like older students, so most private preschools do not have any source of income.

Over the past two weeks, Thanh, the owner of a high-quality preschool in Thu Duc City in HCM City has joined groups on Facebook and Zalo to sell her school.

Every month, she has to pay interest and while her landlord has reduced rent by 30 per cent, she still had to spend up to VND100 million (US$4,400), which she can no longer afford.

Thanh told Người lao động (Labourers) newspaper that in previous COVID-19 outbreaks, she managed by borrowing money from her family and friends to cover monthly expenses.

But during the fourth outbreak, the school was closed for a long time, pushing Thanh to put it up for sale.

"I was sad when I had to give up, the school is not only thanks to my efforts but also the group of teachers’ over the years. We tried to build a good learning environment for students, but because of the pandemic, we could not continue,” she said.

Also due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hoang Thi, owner of five kindergartens in Go Vap District, had to reduce the size of three schools and sell two others. She sold off tables, chairs, air-conditioners, beds and kitchen equipment to make ends meet.

Similarly, Khanh advertised his kindergarten in Binh Chanh District for sale at a loss because he did not have money to pay for loans. The school has 120 students and was upgraded last year. However, he hasn't yet found a buyer.

The same situation is happening in Hanoi.

In the middle of July, Đ.B.G, the owner of a kindergarten on Hoang Quoc Viet Street in Cau Giay District, was faced with a difficult decision – selling her school for just VND980 million ($43,200).

She told the Dân Trí e-newspaper that her school covered five storeys with total area of more than 2,000sq.m, and can host 60-70 students. The fee is VND3-3.5 million ($130-150) per month per student.  

“So far I’ve invested more than VND2 billion ($88,200) in the school, and now have to advertise it for sale at a loss. I did construction work last year so its infrastructure is very new,” she said.

 

Every month, Đ.B.G must pay VND50-60 million ($2,200-2,600) on loan interest but did not have any income.  

“When I started the school, I mortgaged my land certificate, and borrowed money from relatives and friends. But my school had to close after four months due to COVID-19 and since then, everything has stopped,” she said.

N.M.H., in Cau Giay District in Hanoi, said she owned two private kindergartens, each with about 60 students. But she now has to sell one school as she cannot afford expenses.

Since March last year, she spent VND700-800 million ($30,800-35,200) on rent with no income.

Since the school’s closure, H. and other teachers switched to other work, such as selling food, clothes or flowers. 

Common concerns

Luong Thi Hong Diep, head of the Preschool Education Division under the HCM City Department of Education and Training, told the Người lao động (Labourers) newspaper that since April, more than 90 private kindergartens in the city had to close.

This puts a great burden on the municipal education sector when the pandemic is controlled and children can return to school.

The department asked districts' education and training divisions to make a list of dissolved kindergartens and their teachers to prepare plans when children come back.

If private schools are not enough, the children will be divided into public ones.

“It’s a common difficulty not only for the education sector, but other sectors should co-operate for solutions,” she said.

Statistics of the HCM City Department of Education and Training showed that more than 10,000 pre-school teachers lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

Source: Vietnam News 

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