Private schools bump into difficulties recruiting, retaining good teachers
Every school, whether public or private, strives to recruit a pool of qualified and committed teaching staff that can deliver quality education to its students and in turn produce students of high quality. Therefore, it is crucial for schools to employ and retain talented teaching staff.
According to a staff of K.G Kindergarten in Go Vap District, a holder of an intermediate degree in preschool pedagogy can become a teacher while their salary and benefits will be discussed after an assessment of their work efficiency meanwhile the school's recruitment notice clearly stated that candidates must have a university or college degree with long-term work experience in a preschool.
Similarly, at V.M. Kindergarten in Binh Chanh District, the recruitment notice requires candidates to have a college or university degree majoring in preschool, but still accepts an intermediate degree in case the candidate is studying at a college.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Education and Training, the country currently lacks more than 71,000 teachers in all grades; worse, preschools are the most lacking with more than 45,000 teachers.
However, in order to prevent candidates from changing jobs after the end of the probationary period, the school stipulated that in the first year of work, the leave days are not calculated according to the year but converted to one day per month. After one year of working, teachers are entitled to 12 days of annual leave.
Elsewhere in Ho Chi Minh City, N.B. Kindergarten in Binh Thanh District regulated that the probationary period is reduced from two months to one month for all candidates. If passing the interview round, candidates are required to go to work within the week and if they meet the job requirements well, they will be officially contracted from the beginning of the school year 2022-2023.
This year, most non-public schools have expanded the conditions for recruiting teachers, receiving applications and interviewing as soon as candidates register because most schools are short of teachers though they still announce recruitment year-round.
A preschool teacher revealed that because of small income, preschools hardly keep teaching staff. Currently, the starting salary of non-public preschool teachers ranges from VND 6 million -VND8 million (US$258 - $344) a month while their peers in daycare facilities receive only from VND5 million-VND6 million per month.
Particularly during the probationary period, although they still ensure class time from 8-9 hours a day, preschool teachers are only paid 70 percent-80 percent of their salary, causing many people to quit their jobs to find other high-income jobs.
Vo Thi Anh, manager of two private preschools in District 12 and Go Vap, said that after two years of struggling due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, the school's operating budget faced many difficulties.
Ms. Anh said that private schools must be self-financed so the management mechanism is different from public schools. If more children enroll in the school, teachers can get a pay raise. On the contrary, teachers need to share difficulties with the school if the revenue is reduced.
In order to retain teachers, in addition to an official monthly income, many non-public preschools stipulate additional bonus regimes. For instance, teachers will get a bonus if they introduce new students to the school or teachers can maintain the number of students until the end of the school year.
Kindergarten C.T. in Tan Phu District publicly posted recruitment notices on the school's website with many new regulations compared to the previous school year such as lunch support for teachers, 30 percent-50 percent reduction in tuition fees for teachers’ children, and allowance for overtime work.
The representative of Kindergarten H.T. in Binh Chanh outlying district also said that in the past, it only accepted job applications from candidates under 35 years old, but this school year, the school relies on the candidate's working capacity to negotiate the salary regardless of age.
Mat troi do (Red Sun ) Kindergarten in Tan Tao Industrial Park in Binh Tan District) also accepts inexperienced applicants. Teachers, after signing a working contract, will be able to participate in training classes during their classes to improve their professional skills. This is considered one of the ways to retain teachers, helping teachers feel secure in their work and long-term commitment to the profession.
In order to promptly supplement teacher recruitment resources, along with measures to lower recruitment requirements, representatives of schools all said that more compensation policies are needed to attract and improve teachers' lives. Currently, Ho Chi Minh City is implementing a support policy for preschool teachers working at private educational institutions and facilities operating in industrial parks with a monthly support level of VND800,000 each person.
Prior, the city also had many programs to support teachers working at non-public preschools affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. In the long term, in addition to income support for teachers, local administrations need to pay more attention to investing and purchasing equipment and facilities for children's groups, and preschool facilities outside the public sector to create a better working environment, helping teachers to dedicate themselves to the profession for a long time.