Localities pioneer, spending billions of đồng in tuition waiver initiative

For the 2023-2024 academic year, the central Đà Nẵng City also set out VNĐ408 billion ($16.72 million) for tuition exemptions for kindergarten, general and continuing education.

Primary students entered the new school year at Đức Trí School in Đà Nẵng City on September 5. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Dũng

HÀ NỘI — Several localities across the country are leading the initiative to fully cover tuition fees for general education, aiming to alleviate the burdens on families and reduce the number of students dropping out of school.

In the 2023-2024 school year, northern Hải Phòng City plans to spend more than VNĐ400 billion (US$16.4 million) from the local budget for a tuition waiver programme applicable to every student in the city.

One of the first localities to take action for tuition exemption, Hải Phòng City People’s Council approved its Resolution 54 in 2019, aiming to offer education free of charge for students from the kindergarten to the high school level. 

Speaking to Thanh Niên (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday, the council chairman Phạm Quang Lập said that they have taken into consideration local budget revenue and the opinions of students, parents and the community. 

This tuition exemption policy has also facilitated access to education for people in underprivileged circumstances, he added.

Nguyễn Thị Oanh, the principal of Tân Dân Secondary School in the city’s An Lão District said: “Tuition fees might not be a problem for families with few children and in good financial conditions.

“However, for large families in the working class with limited incomes, those are not a small amount. Since the resolution was approved, Tân Dân Commune saw no drop-out.”

Initially planned to follow the minimum tuition fees stated in the government’s Decree No 81/2021/NĐ-CP, Quảng Bình Provincial People’s Council on Monday officially made the decision to exempt tuition fees for the first semester of the 2023-2024 school year after reviewing the local financial abilities.

This applies to all students of kindergarten, secondary and high school levels and those in continuing education centres in the central region province. 

The budget for this semester's tuition waiver is estimated at VNĐ70 billion ($2.87 million). 

Students in ethnic minority, border, coastal and disadvantaged areas will have their entire school year tuition exempted. 

Approximately 150,000 students in public educational institutions in Quảng Bình will benefit from the local tuition waiver programme.

The decision was not an easy one to make considering Quảng Bình’s limited financial resources, Quảng Bình Provincial People’s Council chairman Trần Hải Châu told Thanh Niên newspaper. 

He added: “Due to the modest provincial budget, we cut out nonessential expenditures to prioritise investments in education.

“We believe that it’s the right thing to do so that students feel assured when they enter a new school year.

“It can also help with socio-economic development because when people don’t have to pay their children’s tuition fees yet, they have the resources to focus on business and production recovery.”

For the 2023-2024 academic year, the central Đà Nẵng City also set out VNĐ408 billion ($16.72 million) for tuition exemptions for kindergarten, general and continuing education.

This includes VNĐ316 billion ($12.95 million) for students in public schools and VNĐ92 billion ($3.77 million) for those in private institutions. 

The city’s Party Committee initially aimed for tuition exemption for kindergartens and public schools for general education. 

However, to ensure equality in education, Đà Nẵng People’s Committee proposed extending the policy beneficiaries to students in private institutions, which was approved by the city’s People’s Council. 

Meanwhile, the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu plans nearly VNĐ324 billion ($13.28 million) for a local tuition waiver programme this school year. 

The locality has previously exempted tuition fees for kindergarten children aged 5 and secondary school students. 

Speaking to Thanh Niên newspaper, the province’s People’s Committee vice chairman Đặng Minh Thông said: “In 2023, the challenges in socio-economic development had a significant impact on local socio-economic contexts and people’s lives.

“Therefore, for the 2023-2024 academic year, in addition to the waiver programme for kindergarten children aged 5 and secondary students, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu People’s Council employs a policy that extends the support for kindergarten children aged three and four, as well as students in high schools and continuing education centres.

“This applies to those in both public and private institutions,” he added.

The fee exemption hopes to encourage families to send their children to kindergartens, ensuring social welfare and relieving their financial burden as the school year begins. — VNS


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