Measures proposed to promote VN’s education
14:22 | 26/05/2014

VGP - The education sector in Viet Nam has undergone massive and rapid developments over the past 30 years. Steady progress has been made in meeting the educational needs of the more disadvantaged segments of society such as ethnic minorities and children living in remote rural areas.

Glenn Gibney, Country Director of Plan International in Viet Nam

Mr. Glenn Gibney, Country Director of Plan International in Viet Nam stressed the point in an exclusive interview with VGP's reporter about the education system in Viet Nam.

1 – What has the Plan International done promote Vietnamese education in the recent times?

The Plan’s education program focuses on improving the quality of preschool education and supporting a more effective transition from preschool to primary education for children in ethnic minority areas. It promotes Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and quality primary education models. These are used to support Plan project areas and the government’s national efforts to further reach ethnic minority children who are live in remote, rural areas difficult to reach. Through evidence-based advocacy, the program supports Plan and other stakeholders to further strengthen policy and practice of the Government that will build lasting change within the education sector in Viet Nam.

To prepare children for success in school, Plan builds strong partnerships with local and national education authorities. These will ensure that children can learn through play in their mother tongue, as well as through increased skills, knowledge and practice of preschool teachers and managers to support school readiness.

To support children’s effective transition to primary school, Plan utilizes parent assistants. To support children to complete transitions such as language (from mother tongue to Vietnamese), school environment (from home/preschool to a school based environment), and from learning through play to formal schooling, Plan works through both teachers and school management.

Tracking of child development outcomes and monitoring data feeds into the learning process to inform program progress and advocacy for policy development. Program information and results are shared with all relevant government ministries and provincial departments for policy changes, sustainability and scaling up of the program successful interventions.  

Achievements so far include:

Effective services to children on nutrition, hygiene, health care and child injury prevention via community based parenting groups (172 parenting groups with 2098 parent members) in 60 communes and through children’s groups (275 groups with 5,846 children participating);

Increased access to primary and pre-school services for 15,638 children in remote and disadvantaged villages by improving 9000 teachers’ ability to apply the preschool and early primary education curriculum;

Improved education quality through child friendly pre- and primary schools, increased availability and accessibility to learning materials, strengthened school management through professional teacher’s meetings, and increased understanding of the ECCE among community leaders, health and education workers, parents and children. 

2 – How do you evaluate achievements the Vietnamese education has made over the past few years?  

The Education sector in Viet Nam has undergone massive and rapid developments over the past 30 years. Achievements have been very rapid and have resulted in a considerable reduction in drop-out rates. Completion of school at the correct age is more than 98% of primary school age children.

Steady progress has been made in meeting the educational needs of the more disadvantaged segments of society such as ethnic minorities and children living in remote rural areas. Progress has also been remarkable in including children with disabilities into mainstream schools.

Expansion of early childhood education has provided substantial support to increasing learning abilities when entering primary school. There have also been considerable improvements in nutritional status for child under five year old.

3 – Vietnamese Government has proposed a number of projects to renew the educational system. Would you please give out some suggestions to enhance the teaching and learning methods in Viet Nam?

Plan Viet Nam is aware that the first years of primary school are critical to ensure that children have educational success. Therefore, the education program should aim to improve the continuity of child-friendly and stimulating school environment and learning through play methods from preschool to early grades of primary school. Some specific recommendations to improve teaching and learning quality include:

Promoting curriculum adaptation to the local context - cultural traditions and living conditions – a single textbook and curriculum for all children nationwide does not reflect children’s lives and experience in different regions and from different ethnic origins. The Department of Education and Training and schools should work together to revise grade 1 and grade 2 curricula to be more relevant to ethnic minority children’s learning competencies and living environment. This helps children comprehend the new language. Teachers are the key player in adapting the curriculum.

Applying second language teaching methodology – as the Vietnamese language is the second language for most ethnic children, teachers should be trained on second language teaching techniques. By applying these teaching methods, ethnic minority children’s acquisition of Vietnamese language can improve significantly.

The models, both mother tongue and Vietnamese instruction in pre-school and in the first years of primary school help to increase the children's learning competencies. Evidence to date shows that ethnic minority children in the some pilot areas have gained more confidence and competence in the new language as compared to children in non-bilingual classes.

Strengthening in-service skill-based training - critical to improving teachers’ skills and methodologies applicable in the local context with ethnic minority children. This approach has have proved to have the most impact in the area of child rights, active teaching method, making and using learning aids, teaching skills for multi-grade classes, applying IT in teaching and learning, lesson planning, monitoring and evaluation skills, class observation and giving feedback, using local materials for teaching and class decoration, management skills, building child-friendly school library and teaching with new education curriculum.

Strengthening school based professional meetings - promote active self learning from teachers in the adaptation and application of active learning methodologies in classrooms. It is based on three principles: (1) ensure learning opportunities for all pupils; (2) ensure capacity building opportunities for all teachers; and (3) ensure involvement of more parents in the learning process.

Engaging local people, including parents in education development - actively discuss with local authorities and school managers problems and issues and provide solutions and recommendations and they are also more engaged in school activities and provide support to schools for better learning environment.

Thuy Dung

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