This has raised serious concerns over poor management of authorised agencies.
Last month, a supervisory board of the municipal People’s Council conducted surprise inspections at private pre-schools and found a high number of unlicensed classes.
Tran The Cuong, a representative of the council and a member of the inspection team, said they found 70 nursery classes without operation certificates and about 600 classes with more children than was allowed.
Authorities say, because the classes failed to meet requirements on a number of levels, including infrastructure and teachers, they could not be licensed as schools.
Cuong said local authorities had no information about these unlicensed nursery classes until they accidentally heard a baby crying when going by the classes.
He also added that most of these pre-schools failed to obey requirements on the number of kids each class.
Many classrooms in Hai Ba Trung district had the area of 15 square meters, but crammed about 20 children into each one.
Under the Ministry of Education and Training’s regulation, there must be at least 1.5 square metres per child in each class.
Other classrooms were located in small alleys with no playgrounds or toilets. All were renovated from residents’ houses, which failed to meet requirements on fire prevention, food hygiene and safety and light system.
Many classes usually switched teaching staff, and some teachers were found not to be trained about nursery education. Some businesses even hired old people with poor health and lack of skills to work as babysitters.
Cuong said local authorities were not active in tightening control and cracking down on illegal nursery classes.
Hoang Thi Tu Anh, another member of the inspection team, said the number of illegal nursery classes should be more than 70 as reported.
She said one business was found to have eight classes. Of that, only two were licensed. But she said she believed the rest of six were still operating due to loose management.
Le Thu Hang from the council said the procedures of establishment and control of private nursery classes was under the management of communes and wards and should be implemented easily.
She also added that these classes were controlled by the heads of public pre-schools in the same locality. However, the heads of public schools were quite busy with their schools and had no time for other schools.
Currently, there were no specific penalties on these people in case something happened at private schools.
Hang cited Kim Chung commune in Dong Anh district as an example. Many private nursery classes were set up to meet the high demand of workers at an industrial zone, but there was no one directly in charge of controlling these classes.