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Deaths and Abuse Reported at HCMC Daycare Centers

In a week hit by scandal of 2 nursery ‘baby-sitters’ abusing the children in their care, more light is being shed on illegally operating businesses that are left to care for the city’s children. And it doesn’t look good.

Whilst there are no reported deaths of children in the care of Le Thi Dong Phuong, manager of the Phuong Anh Private Preschool, and Nguyen Thien Ly, the two ladies at the centre of the current outrage, this is sadly not the case at other schools in HCMC. 

In just the last four weeks there have been two tragic instances of children dying whilst in the care of nurseries operating without official licenses. 

Last week saw the death of a 13 month old boy who had suffered a severe brain injury whilst at his nursery in District 8 in early December.

In November a young girl of less than two years tragically died after being beaten at her unlicensed nursery in Thu Duc District.

Over the last five years the number of kindergartens and nurseries operating in the city has grown significantly, partially prompted by regulations requiring businesses of over 500 employees to kindergarten facilities for their staff.

People’s Council member, Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy, claims there is still a shortage of child care facilities in many areas, especially new built industrial parks.  She argues that if more kindergartens and nurseries were built in these areas that this would lessen the pressure on those located in the inner-city.

Although licenses issued by the city have increased almost 3 fold in the last five years, many of these newly opened schools remain unregulated and monitored. 

City authorities are currently inspecting all kindergartens and vow to close any that are unlicensed or found to be violating official regulations.

Thuy argues that authorities must be stricter in the issuance of licenses for nurseries and kindergartens, adding that unless illegal operations and practices were quickly identified and shut down, we will continue to see more deaths and examples of abuse such as those seen this week.

To help address these worrying concerns, the city's education department has suggested that district People's Committees be assigned the responsibility of issuing licenses to nurseries. 

Whether this buck-passing initiative will help protect the next generation from those charged with looking after them will have to wait to be seen.

[Thanh Nien]

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