Theme: Livelihood Education
Lao Cai province
– (Bac Ha district & Lao Cai city)
Lai Chau province
– (Tam Duong district)
Hoa Binh province
– (Da Bac district)
- secondary school students
- teachers & school management
- local authorities & administrators
- ethnic youth & community members
Background – school drop-outs & ineffective career orientation
Da Bac district (Hoa Binh province), Tam Duong (Lai Chau province), Bac Ha (Lao Cai 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.
School drop-out is highly prevalent for local specific socio-economic conditions. According to figures of district education administration office, approximately 30% of secondary students do not continue their studies to a higher level beyond Grade 9, at the age of 14 or so. A large majority of them join the labor market as free workers without clear career orientation, earning poor income or even facing unemployment.
In secondary schools, students in 9th grade receive career orientation following the Government’s textbook on the topic, but this effort remains largely ineffective for a number of reasons:
- teachers are insufficiently trained to provide quality career orientation
- with the number of sessions to cover the content revised down from 36 to 9 sessions per school year, teachers struggle to properly cover the required contents and give students an opportunity to practice
- the Government’s textbook, having been developed a number of years ago, contains out-of-date contents which is heavily theoretical, with few opportunities for skill development and practice for the students
- the program is rigid, stereotyped and does not respond well to market needs or the needs and conditions of students leaving them with little hands-on expertise or knowledge that makes them employable
The result is an abundance of “trained” but unemployable (and unemployed) graduates.
With rapid technological advances, new career opportunities are emerging, and today’s average student can expect to change jobs several times, often in completely different sectors. The students in these regions are not prepared to navigate this more complex career path that lies ahead of them. They must experience a further period of learning so they are able to keep updating their skills on a lifelong basis. To achieve this, the quality of career guidance in Vietnamese schools needs to improve to meet both the labor market and students’ needs.
The “Career orientation education and division orientation of students 2018-2025”, recently approved by the Vietnamese Prime Minister, will help increase the quality of career orientation education by matching students’ interests, skills, and capabilities with suitable vocational education and market needs. Our work on career orientation for grade 8 and 9 will be in line with the national framework, The National Action Plan for Children 2012-2020; Decision No.1956/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister dated 27/11/2009 on vocational training for rural workers including ethnic minority people. During its first phase, our project focuses on Career Orientation for students grade 8 and 9, while the second one focuses on youth aged 16 to 35.
Our project’s overall goal is to support sustainable livelihoods of ethnic minority youth through improvement of employability and entrepreneurship. More specifically, we are working towards making ethnic minority youth more adaptable to the labor market needs, to strengthen partnerships between and engagement of local businesses, and to identify and support viable entrepreneurship initiatives.
Our initiatives include:
- Support schools with career orientation materials (grades 8 & 9)
- Build the capacity of secondary teachers on career orientation for students
- Support extra-curricular career orientation sessions (grade 8)
- Survey local industries and labor needs of local businesses, and assess needs of learners
- Provide short-term vocational training for ethnic marginalized youth.
- Organize study tours to businesses and enterprises
- Provide internships and on-site vocational training at enterprises for ethnic minority youth
- Support schools in improving the curriculum for vocational training in line with market needs
- Organize vocational skills contests for ethnic minority youth with the participation of local businesses
- Organize Job Fair events with the participation of local businesses and ethnic minority youth
- Provide start-up and business planning skills training for high school students and young community members
- Select potential local young entrepreneurs
- Support detailed start-up proposals that have been selected
- Support farm households with livelihood production business