Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE)
Hoa Binh, Lai Chau, and Lao Cai
Provinces, VIETNAM (2019-2023)
Extended to Dak Lak Province, VIETNAM (2021-2023)
- children from 3 to 8 years old
- parents and carers
- teachers and school management
- community members
- government officials and community leaders
Da Bac district (Hoa Binh province), Tam Duong (Lai Chau province), Bac Ha (Lao Cai province) and Dak Lak province are among the poorest districts and provinces in Vietnam, with the poverty rate of 42.34%, 31.45%, 38.92%, and 15.37% respectively, compared to the national rate of 6.7%. These areas are the homelands of different ethnic minority groups of which Mong, Tay, Dao, Thai, Ede, and Nung constitute the biggest groups.
Since 2008, the government has made remarkable progress in socio-economic development and upped investment in education to 20% of its budget. Yet, gaps and challenges remain. Despite main policies on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) being in place in Vietnam, and National Early Learning Development Standards part of pre-primary curriculum, access to and quality of ECCE remain limited in remote and isolated areas where poor, vulnerable and ethnic minority families are predominantly located, such as Da Bac, Tam Duong, Bac Ha and Dak Lak.
With increased scientific evidence pointing to the crucial role of quality ECCE in the child’s cognitive and socio-emotional development and acquisition of basic foundation skills for learning, this gap needs addressing. Children who do not attain these basic skills for learning, are simply at a high risk of dropping out of school or having to repeat early grades. Despite significant progress in the net enrollment ratio for primary school for the academic year 2016/2017 (more than 80%), only 68% of ethnic minority children complete primary school compared to 91% of ethnic majority Kinh children.
One of the main challenges for ECCE in Vietnam is to ensure the smooth and successful transition of children to primary education, and in particular for ethnic minority and disadvantaged children. Some of the current hurdles are:
- The lack of recognition and awareness of the importance of ECCE
- Limited qualified preschool teachers and other staff
- The poor quality of teaching (due to a low-quality teacher-training system, no on-the-job coaching and the use of multi-grade teaching)
- Language Barriers ̶ by law, Vietnamese is the language of instruction at school regardless of the children’s mother tongue. Ethnic children whose mother tongue is not Vietnamese, struggle to follow the teachers’ instructions and understand the subjects. This prevents them from fully participating in activities and performing well at school.
- Most parents in these disadvantaged areas have limited knowledge about childcare and education, including health, hygiene, and nutrition, and consider the education of their children a matter for teachers and schools. They miss effective guidance on quality parenting, aggravated by poverty and their lack of time to attend to and engage with their children’s education at home.
- Poor pre-school infrastructure (learning/teaching equipment, classrooms, clean water, latrines, kitchens etc.)
- Malnutrition among young children ̶ more than 20% of ethnic minority children are underweight and 31.2% are stunting, compared to 7.2% and 10.5% respectively in urban areas (2017). Children get support from the government for their school lunch, but the understanding of teachers and schools about nutrition is too limited to ensure nutritious meals are served at school. At home, the diet for children often consists of only rice and vegetables.
Aide et Action has been working in Vietnam on Child Care & Education since 2005. With this project, the team aims to ensure access to quality Early Childhood Care & Education for children between 3 and 8 years ol in these 4 disadvantaged districts populated largely by ethnic minorities. The results we work towards are:
- improved child-friendly learning environments for children
- enhanced soft skills and learning outcomes for children in the early primary grades
- improved teaching capacity with a focus on child-centered methodology for teachers
- better skills and practices of parents and community members to support their children’s early education and development
- good practices in ECCE are understood and supported by local authorities and educational leaders
Our initiatives include:
- Equip schools with child-friendly learning materials, facilities, and infrastructure
- Enhance children’s soft skills (incl. Vietnamese language) to strengthen their school readiness
- Develop tools for parents and teachers to track children’s school readiness
- Build capacity of teachers and education leaders in child-centered methodologies and play-based approaches
- Build capacity of parents/carers to support children’s learning through improving parenting skills and livelihood development;
- Increase collaboration between preschool and primary school levels
- Develop and disseminate materials on ECCE
- Organize communication events (including contests) on ECCE
- Strengthen communication and collaboration among community, schools, and local authorities;
- Document and disseminate good practices on ECCE, including sharing and learning events