- August 21, 2015
Vilnius’ pre-schools – unending problems
It looks like the new Vilnius’ authorities will have the same problem with pre-schools as their predecessors. Problem with the lack of places in public pre-schools was to be resolved by giving 100 euro compensation to parents for every children attending a private kindergarten. The Mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, promised that the private pre-schools’ fees will not increase. Despite that, it still happened – parents started complaining on rising fees.
In June, the Vilnius City Council accepted a resolution, according to which the local-government obliged itself to supplement 100 euro to parents with children who attend private pre-schools. Together with the private kindergartens owners the Council arranged that the school fees will not be raised during the whole school year. The local authorities promised to monitor how the pre-schools perform this agreement.
Although they would do it only after the 1st of September. In the meantime the parents begun filing complaints to the local-government and the Mayor. It turned out that some of the private institutions took advantage of the situation by increasing the fee or by introducing additional payments, for example for fruits, vegetables or cleaning products. According to the Active Mothers National Association (Nacionalinis aktyvių mamų sambūris) representative, Rasa Žemaitė, the authorities had not foreseen many things and protected the project against abuse, when preparing it. Meanwhile, situations occur in which one of the companies managing several pre-schools removes discounts in summer vacation payments. Parents did not have to pay for their children holidays before, now they will. In another institution additional payments for fruits and vegetables appear. Haven’t the children been given fruits and vegetables before? Yet another pre-school introduces fees for cleaning products. Suddenly, exactly now, before September, before signing any deals, in many private pre-schools various additional payments spring up like mushrooms. “There is a lack of place in pre-schools, supply and demand have not yet been regulated so the school owners can increase prices because they know the children will come anyway”, said R. Žemaitė to 15min.lt news portal.
The Active Mothers National Association predicted that such situation may happen and proposed the local-government to reserve the rules of forming, calculating and controlling fees in the contracts with the private pre-schools but those propositions were not considered.
However, the Vice-Mayor of Vilnius, Valdas Benkunskas, claims that the abuses about which the parents complain are one-time incidents, whereas the city authorities have detected irregularities in signing children to public kindergartens. The Mayor accused directors of public institutions of “trading spots”. The directors of 144 institutions had time until the 7th of August to inform the local-government how much available spots they have. Some of the institutions gave the information in the last moment and 19 pre-school did not share it. “I’ll be frank. I have a bad feeling that this is not just a simple omission but an attempt at “trading” spots in kindergartens”, the Mayor stated.
Currently, as the capital’s local-government informs, there are about a thousand available spots in public pre-schools. Parents who signed-up their children to the queue of those waiting for a spot in pre-school, but did not get it during the spring recruitment, still have a chance in autumn.
Sources: vilnius.lt, 15min.lt, delfi.lt
Translated by Marcin Wus within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.