Cao Van Ngoc Primary School in Con Dao Island (Photo: tienphong.vn)
 
 Ba Ria – Vung Tau (VNA) – The planning and investment in education infrastructure are lagging behind the pace of population growth in Con Dao island district in the southern coastal province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau although there are preferential treatments and policies designed exclusively for the island district.

In 2011-2015, along with the socio-economic development, the district’s population grew more than 2 percent annually. From 2014-2016, the increasing number of immigrants and unskilled workers led to the rise in the number of students and overcrowded classroom, particularly in preschool and elementary schools.

According to the district’s education sector, the number of students in all school grades rose 1.7-2.9-fold, while the number of classrooms has almost been the same since 1998.

All local schools are currently coping with overload and are unable to admit any more students.

The population in Con Dao live mainly around the administrative centre (within the radius of nearly 3 square kilometres) and almost all schools are situated right in the downtown. Therefore, households living far from the district’s centre find it hard to take children to schools.

Do Thi Tuong, who lives near Co Ong airport, said the school where her child attends is 14km from her home so that it is hard for her to take her child to school during the rainy season. Sometimes, she must ask for help from her relatives or permission for her child’s absence.

Truong Thi Khuyen, a teacher at Cao Van Ngoc elementary school, said the surge in the number of students requires increasing the number of classrooms. As a result, schools must make use of all space, including warehouses and meeting halls, to serve as classrooms. During the 2017-2018 academic year, the school has built two more classrooms and converted four functional rooms into classrooms, but it is yet to meet demand.

Due to local characteristics, private investment into education meets a lot of challenges.

According to Nguyen Van Manh, head of the district’s education and training office, the provincial authorities have given the nod to a proposal to build an additional kindergarten and an elementary school in Con Dao island in the 2017-2020 period using the province’s budget, but the classroom overcrowding is unlikely to be fully solved.

The office is working closely with the district’s relevant agencies to suggest prioritising long-term capital for education development that ensures stability and sustainability, Manh said.-VNA