Parents turn their backs to non-state primary schools
“Utterly tragic” was the word that headmaster of a non-state owned school in district 5 of HCM City used to say about the 2011 enrolment season. The headmaster said he had not seen such a terrible result before. As there were few students, teachers became redundant and the school took losses. The school has been resigned to keeping unprofitable operation, because he does not want to shut down the school after many years of operation.
Headmaster of another non-state owned school in HCM City said that in general, it’s easier to enroll students for high schools, while it’s very difficult to find students for primary education.
The supply of students for high schools proves to be more profuse. It is estimated that there are 20,000 secondary school graduates who fail the entrance exams to state owned schools every year and would continue studying at non-state owned schools. Besides, students from other provinces now tend flock to HCM City to study at non-state schools, because they believe that they would have better opportunities and receive better education in big cities.
Vo Ngoc Thu, Head of the Education and Training Sub-department in district 5, said that since Vietnam is implementing the program on primary education universalization, all children at the age of six, are called up to state owned schools.
State owned primary schools, which do not require tuitions and have good material facilities invested by the State, have always been the top choice of parents. As a result, non-state owned schools find it very difficult to attract students.
A lot of primary schools in HCM City had to shut down or operated at a moderate level in the 2011-2012 school year. The Phuong Nam School in Tan Binh district, for example, shut down after 13 years of operation. Khai Tri School in district 5 has stopped primary education because it cannot enroll students. The Tan Nam School only has six students for every grade of the primary education.
Though the 2011-2012 academic year would finish only in two months, headmasters of non-state owned schools now feel anxious about the enrolment for the next school year.
More marketing campaigns would help?
Anticipating that 2012-2013 would be another difficult year, non-state owned schools have kicked off marketing campaigns already to find students for the new academic year.
Headmaster of Tan Nam My Secondary School said that in the last four years, the school always has to send staff to Mekong Delta and the Central Highlands to do marketing. The school also tries to look for students in HCM City by providing information about the enrolment at nursery schools.
The school also plans to post ad pieces on newspapers together with marketing campaigns at nursery schools, hoping that more parents could obtain the information and send their children to the school.
An educator has also said that coming to schools to advertise about schools proves to be the best way for the newly established schools. After that, the quality of the education would decide the enrolment results.
According to the HCM City Education and Training Department, there are 82 non-state owned schools operational in HCM City. Meanwhile, the number of schools which have primary education is not high. Since it’s very difficult to enroll students for the education level, investors would not inject money in the schools as they anticipate loss.