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Aug 26, 2023 / 16:49

Hanoi schools promise no unregulated fees

Besides tuition, unregulated school fees are a major concern for parents and students before each school year.

School tuition and other fees must be collected by existing regulations, taking into account the financial burden on students and parents, according to a statement sent by the Hanoi Department of Education to all schools ahead of the new school year.

 Three hundred first-grade students at Van Chuong Primary School prepare for the opening ceremony of the 2023-2024 school year. Photo courtesy of the school

In recent weeks, local schools across the capital have been busy preparing for the 2023-2024 school year. As always, one of the biggest concerns for parents and students is the tuition and fees that are weighing on families at such a difficult time.

For the 2022-2023 school year, local schools are required to balance their expenses and revenues based on their full-year operating plan to ease the financial pressure on parents. This is the first time the Department of Education and Training has made such a move before the start of the school year.

The school's annual operating budget must be approved by all parents and submitted to the authorities before its issuance. The collaboration between the school and the Parents' Representative Council (PRC) must comply with Circular 55/2011/TT-BGDDT issued by the Ministry of Education and Training on November 22, 2011.

"Any decisions and actions taken by the school to collect unregulated fees through the PRC are prohibited," the Hanoi Department of Education and Training said.

The department said its inspectorate will assess the financial conditions of local schools to ensure that no illegal collections are made. The department also instructed its subordinate agencies at the district level to strictly supervise schools and set up public hotlines for parents and people to file complaints about school misconduct.

"The department has worked with the Finance Department to instruct schools to plan their expenses and income accurately," said Tran The Cuong, director of Hanoi's Education and Training Department.

Schools must make specific plans and cost estimates for outdoor, social, and extracurricular activities, and these documents must be approved by local authorities, he said.

"School leaders must take responsibility for any violations," Cuong said.

Positive reactions from parents

The move by the Hanoi Education and Training Department has been well received by parents as they are getting their kids ready for the new academic year 2023-2024.

Just a week before the new school year, meetings are being held between the school board and parents to discuss upgrading facilities, improving teaching quality, and changes in academic activities.

Ha Thi Hoa, a parent living in Ha Dong District, has enrolled her child in the 6th grade at Le Quy Don Secondary School, a high-quality school in the district.

After submitting her child's profile to the school online, she was terrified to learn that the school might raise tuition and other fees this year.

If so, Hoa would find it difficult to afford her child's education.

But at the pre-season meeting with the school, she and other parents were happy to learn that all fees will remain the same this year.

"The parent meeting is good this year. The whole school is well equipped before the school year starts," Ha Thi Hoa, a parent from Ha Dong District, told The Hanoi Times.

There is no increase in school fees, no extra charges for air conditioners, projectors, and window curtains, she said, adding that they only have to pay for lunch and other fixed monthly fees.

"We are happy with the school this year. We now have a lot of confidence in the teachers and their abilities."

At Van Chuong Primary School in Dong Da District, Nguyen Phu Manh, a parent of a first-grade student, said he had not been informed of any fees.

"The school has only informed us of a course that all first-graders have to attend for two weeks to learn school rules and discipline," he said. "The quality of facilities here is very good."

Hoang Thuy Nga, director of Van Chuong Primary School, said all classrooms are equipped with air conditioners, projectors, televisions, and fans.

"Our students will have a very high-quality educational environment. Parents will not have to pay anything extra."

The school has received strong support from the district authorities in terms of funding and equipment, she said.

"All the parents have agreed to our budget estimate. Our teachers are also reminded of this issue, and we have the minutes of all meetings with parents" Nga said.