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Cashless Payment Reaches Saigon Public Schools in Pilot Program

'Cashless Schools' is a program established in 2014 at secondary and high schools in Saigon.

There are two main components to the cashless program: a slow, steady shift to allow parents to pay school fees via a cashless process and introducing an all-in-one smart school card that students can use to register attendance, access libraries, buy food at canteens and board buses.

"The smart school card is a secondary card based on parents' school deposit card. When a student uses the card, parents will be notified of all transaction details. This helps parents manage their children better," said Le Hoai Nam, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Education and Training to Tuoi Tre.

Currently, 300 secondary schools and high schools in Saigon are employing cashless school fee payment and the smart card system for attendance registration and library uses. The smart card's payment feature, however, hasn't been widely implemented yet. At the moment, only 333 students in the 7th grade at Ly Thanh Tong Secondary School are participating in an experimental trial that lets them purchase products with their cards.

Cash payment is still available as an option in schools that are piloting the program. In response to Tuoi Tre's question on whether parents from a lower socio-economic background would be excluded from this program, Nam said that the department is researching for ways that these parents can participate in the cashless model.

Nam also shared that in the near future, the model will be expanded to primary school as a means to "cultivating a habit of using cashless modern payment methods."

[Photo: Students at Ly Thanh Tong Secondary School in District 8 queue in front of a cashless vending machine to buy drinks during recess./Tuoi Tre]

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