Oct 31, 2012

Vietnam - Teachers grappling with low salaries at vocational schools

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Teachers at Ho Chi Minh City vocational schools are struggling with low pay, with many having quit their job and others taking on extra work to survive.

One of such teachers, Doan Hong Hai Van who is teaching at Eastern Saigon Vocational School, says her teaching salary accounts for over one-third of the monthly income whereas making clothes at home covers the rest.

Hoang Oanh, in charge of cake baking and cooking at The Hospitality School of Ho Chi Minh City, complains she has to teach at many other schools to make ends meet because it is impossible to live on her meager salary.

“I can’t do nothing but resort to side jobs as my salary is not enough for living,” Oanh said. “Some of my colleagues have been working for companies on the side for the same reason.”

The teacher reveals she once received an offer to be a chef in a hotel that was willing to pay her triple the current salary.

“I know that many other teachers also got similar offers,” she says. “In that way only those who deeply love teaching would stay in their career.”

School academic affairs vice chief Nguyen Thi My Hanh admits that she always looks for teachers since it has a high turnover.

“The main reason for their leaving is salary,” Hanh says.

Low numbers of students should take the blame, school officials have said.

Truong Minh Tuan, academic affairs chief at a vocational center in District 11, says that it cannot pay teachers better because tuition fails to help it afford more generous remuneration packages.

“Merely 1,000 students enroll in our courses each year,” Tuan says, “so the collection of tuition from them cannot ensure a more proper salary policy for the teachers.”


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