Access & Quality of Education
Location: Lao Cai, Lai Chau and
Hoa Binh Provinces, Vietnam
Children between 3 and 8 years
Primary school children
Teachers & School Managers
Parents, Local authorities & Educational leaders
Background – children’s development & learning at risk
Da Bac district (Hoa Binh province), Tam Duong (Lai Chau province), Bac Ha (Lao Cai province) are among the poorest districts 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.
Ethnic minorities have been found to have a disadvantage compared to ethnic majorities in six areas: access to education, mobility, access to formal financial services, productive land, market access, and in the fact that they are subjected to stereotyping and misconceptions. (World Bank, 2019). When it comes to education, Vietnam has made good progress towards Universal Primary Education, but some educational challenges persist, and they disproportianely affect children of ethnic minorities:
- Low completion rates: in 2017/2018, only 68% of enrolled ethnic minority children complete primary school compared to 91% of the ethnic majority Kinh children
- Learning outcomes are lower: in some of the communities we work in, not even half of the children manage to successfully demonstrate their Vietnamese and mathematics skills.
- Teachers lack knowledge and understanding of ethnic language and culture: despite ethnic children accounting for the vast majority of pre-primary and primary school students, there are very few ethnic minority teachers at primary and pre-primary level
- Teaching ability is not up to acceptable government standards for child-focused teaching, with special adaptation for ethnic children who are reported to be more disadvantaged in terms of both language and learning (due to lack of resources for training)
- Lack of active engagement by parents during early learning and education process
- Limited parenting knowledge, skills and practices relating to child education and child needs for nutrition
These factors dramatically affect the children’s development, their ability to acquire knowledge, and chances to smoothly transition from pre-school to primary school.
Other factors that jeopardize children’s optimal development and education in these areas are:
- an increased risk of human and child trafficking in these border areas, particularly for girls
- a lack of life skills and information on common issues related to their daily lives, such as child rights, injury prevention, gender equality, child rights, and prevention of human trafficking
- increasing short-term migration for working purpose to China due to poverty with many of the migrants being women who have to take their children with them, so their children quit school and face a lot of insecurity associated with migration.
Building on our earlier projects completed in Lao Cai, Hoa Binh and Lai Chau, this project focuses and expands its work on improving the quality of teaching and learning, responsive parenting, and the social accountability of education stakeholders. The overall goal is to ensure access to quality care and education for ethnic minority and disadvantaged children in these 3 districts in mountainous northern Vietnam. Our efforts are mostly directed towards the primary school level which has the most pressing issues relating to learning environments and the quality of learning and teaching.
What we want to achieve is
- Improved learning outcomes for ethnic minority children at primary school level by helping to create more child-friendly learning environments.
- Enhanced capacity of teachers to develop and apply inclusive and child-centered teaching methods for ethnic minority children during their primary education.
- Greater and more meaningful participation of ethnic parents, children and local communities in the children’s education through more responsive school governance.
Some of our key initiatives are:
- Equipping schools with child-friendly learning materials and facilities
- Strengthening the children’s soft skills through extra-curricular activities
- Providing teachers and teaching assistants with ongoing, specialist training and coaching on child-centered teaching methods with a special focus on early primary education
- Providing child-centered learning materials to support teachers in their application of child-friendly teaching methods during their classes
- Training and coaching parenting associations so they can bring about increased involvement and support of parents in bilingual education and the early development of ethnic minority children, as well as creating supportive home and school environments
- Facilitating the engagement of local authorities in seminars that advocate for the potential adoption and replication of project initiatives and good practices.