On July 3 when pupils came to schools to complete their exam procedures, tea stands and cheap canteens around schools in Hanoi where the exams take place boomed; while guest-house owners look to line their own pockets.
Parking fees increase to VND10,000 (USD0.47)
At 5 a.m, Nguyen Thi Minh sets up her tea stand in front of the University of Transport Technology. At every university entrance exam, her and her husband move the stand from Nguyen Trai Street to near the university on Trieu Khuc Street.
She’s acquainted with the local authorities and pays out to grab the best location. Competition among sellers is fierce. During last year’s entrance exam, she earned nearly VN10 million (USD476) from selling sticky-rice, tea and renting out chairs.
A cup of ice tea costs VND15,000 (USD0.7), including a fees for the chairs. Nearly 20 tea stands have been set up around Water Resources University and Trade Union University.
This morning, early rain brought a chance for many shops to sell raincoats, and newspapers also sold well around schools.
Food near to exam areas have also increased. Each bowl of instant noodles and bread has gone up by VND5,000-10,000. Lottery sellers, fortune-tellers, beggars and multi-level sales brokers can all be found. Many girl students offer parents and pupils leaflets advertising studies at vocational training schools if they fail.
Exorbitant guest house prices
Nguyen Cong Minh from the northern province of Nam Dinh has to spend up to VND500,000 (USD23.8) a day to hire an air-conditioned room in a guest house opposite the school for his son because he is afraid of overcrowding at Hanoi University. He will have to spend nearly VND3 million (USD0.142) for a five-day stay for the exam.
Nguyen Thi Tam whose daughter is taking an entrance exam for Hanoi University of Technology will also spend up VND2 million (USD95.23) to rent a room for four days. The room measures less than 10 square metres and on the third floor.
Many guest-house owners hang around schools to invite pupils. Room prices depend on their condition, ranging from VND100,000 (USD4.76) to even VND1.5 million (USD71.4) per day. The price an be double or triple for a luxury room.
Nguyen Van Minh on Tay Son Street, Hanoi, said that during every entrance exam period, his family leases four floors to pupils to earn money. He can earn VND20,000 million (USD952.38) for just several days.
Tea stands and vendors
Hiring park benches
VND2.5 million (USD119) for an air-conditioned room