For Hanoi's downtown districts with scarce land resources, it is necessary to speed up the relocation of production facilities, state agencies' offices, universities, and hospitals to obtain land for building public schools, according to Nguyen Trong Ky Anh, Director of the Hanoi Department of Planning and Architecture.
"This is an optimal solution," Ky Anh said, adding that in the city's zoning plans, there will be about 71 hectares of land obtained from the relocation of production facilities, ministry headquarters, branch offices, colleges and universities to the suburbs, of which 8.13 hectares (ha) in Hoan Kiem District, 7.19 ha in Ba Dinh, 12.7 ha in Dong Da, and 16.4 ha in Hai Ba Trung.
"This is a valuable land resource for the city to build social infrastructure projects, including public schools. However, it is only prospective because the pace of relocation is sluggish," Ky Anh noted.
He stressed that the city authorities need to drastically enforce the central city zoning plans and the relocation roadmap to get the land resources for public schools as soon as possible.
Schoolyard of Nghia Tan Secondary School in Hanoi's Cau Giay district. Photo: Pham Hung/The Hanoi Times
"I fully agree with this policy," said Tran Huy Anh, permanent member of the Hanoi Architects Association, adding that there are many production facilities in the city center that occupy large areas and need to be relocated to free up land for the education sector.
He expressed concern that the city's current planning for its school network is inadequate due to uneven distribution and rapid population growth. "New urban areas and industrial zones are being developed, more people are coming, but no new schools have been built, leading to overcrowding in existing educational facilities," Huy Anh said.
He pointed out that despite efforts at all levels, private schools enroll very few students, especially in suburban high schools.
"As a result, the pressure on educational facilities is increasing, and the city is reviewing vacant land and changing the use of some parcels to school construction," he added.
Commenting on the issue, Pham Ngoc Anh, head of Cau Giay District's Faculty of Education and Training, said the district's school network is currently unbalanced between public and non-public schools.
"Of the 102 schools in the district, only 41 are public schools, and the remaining 61 are non-public schools (accounting for 60%), which only enroll about 5% of students, putting a huge burden on public schools," Ngoc Anh said.
He said the capital planning should take into account the balance between public and non-public schools.
On April 2, Deputy Chairwoman of the Hanoi People's Committee Vu Thu Ha revealed at a meeting with the National Assembly's Standing Committee that Hanoi has earmarked over VND51 trillion (US$2.17 billion) to build 433 national-standard public schools with a total of more than 8,300 classrooms between 2021 and 2025.
She stressed that the city is studying to incorporate education mechanisms and policies into the revised Capital Law to develop schools.