Every Last Child campaign: Better education, better future for ethnic-minority children

(VNF) - "Every Last Child", the campaign which aims to ensure education quality for children of ethnic groups is a meaningful initiative by Save the Children to kick start the new school year.

(VNF) - "Every Last Child", the campaign which aims to ensure education quality for children of ethnic minorities is a meaningful initiative by Save the Children in Vietnam to kick start the new school year.

Vietnam has 53 ethnic-minority groups, with the population of 12 million people, accounting for over 13% of the whole country population. However over 40% of ethnic minorities are living in poverty. Despite the relatively speedy growth of the economy and the increasing attention of the country to children development, kids of those groups are still facing a lot of challenges in accessing to quality education.

Poverty, income gap, as well as challenges in implementing strategies in education enhancement has led to the low literacy rate of ethnic-minority children, which is lower than the expected number. (only 71% of them are literate, while this number in Kinh group is 84%).

The disadvantage in education opportunity also limits those children in completing primary school (the rate of children who complete primary school in ethnic-minority group is only 87.7% compare to 97.5% in Kinh group).

The aforementioned figures and facts have urged Save the Children in Vietnam to kick start the campaign Every Last Child.

Every Last Child is a global campaign initiated by Save The Children International (SCI). The foundation pays attention to the most deprived children in every country they work in. However, depending on the unique characteristics of each community, the beneficiary groups vary from place to place, said Save the Children Vietnam country director Dragana Strinic.

Every Last Child campaign: Better education, better future for ethnic-minority children

Save The Children Vietnam's country director Dragana Strinic speaking at the launching ceremony of Every Last Child (photo: Thuy Linh)

"We might prioritize handicapped kids in one country, while in other place, we pay more attention to children who are victims of war or the refugees," Strinic said.

In Vietnam, Every Last Child is considered another step forward in SCI’s mission of improving the education and nutrition quality for ethnic minority children in Vietnam. The campaign advocates for inclusive economic development and reduction of inequality, as well as inclusion policies and quality social services for ethnic minority groups. Accordingly, everyone has responsibility to improve education and nutrition status for ethnic minority children, and increased coordination of all stakeholders in implementation of policies will result in a better life for deprived children, Save the Children said in its offical press release about the campaign.

Specially, Every Last Child has received strong supports from its artistic ambassador - one of Vietnam's most renowned pas: singer Do My Linh.

A few months ago, Linh took part in a field trip with the organization to Bat Xat district, Lao Cai province, a mountainous area in north Vietnam, where she had chance to eye witness the difficulties kids of ethnic groups had to overcome on their way to acquire knowledges. “They have to travel a long way (like 10 kilometers) to go to school, every day” – the singer said.

During the trip, Linh figured out other barriers hindering these children from accessing to quality education, of which, the most fundamental one is language barrier. “When I taught them to sing, I could feel that they were very smart. However, many of them could not understand what I said in Kinh (Vietnam’s official language), hence we needed to resort to a translator who could speak their dialect to help with intepretation. Language absolutely is the biggest barrier blocking their way to quality education.”

Sharing the concern with the artistic ambassador, Save The Children decided that language barrier is therefore the first issue to be tackled in Every Last Child campaign in Vietnam, in terms of education.

To remove this barrier, Save the Children will maintain close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Training in supporting mother tongue based bilingual education. The organization also plans to join hands with the ministry to improve the qualification of of teachers and assistants, as well as providing necessary training equipments.

The organization also plans to work directly with the ethnic-minority students and their parents to help better the learning environment at home as well as propose more effective solutions in the time to come.

According to Strinic, the coordination of all stakeholders in this campaign is critical to provide the students with a better education and therefore leading to a brighter future.

Every Last Child campaign: Better education, better future for ethnic-minority children

Artistic Ambassador of Every Last Child campaign My Linh speaking at the event (photo: Thuy Linh)

Earlier, Save the Children has joined hands with the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) to put into use various teaching aids to support kindergarten kids in getting familiar with Mathematics, reading and writing as well as increasing reading capability for primary school kids. The tools have helped enhance teaching skills of the teachers at class, as well as improve the learning environment at home for children.

The contribution and enthusiasm of Save the Children in bettering the education for children in Vietnam has been greatly acknowledged by MOET.

The Ministry also expressed their committment and willingness to coordinate with Save The Children to ensure equal education opportunities for all children in Vietnam, particularly those from ethnic minority groups, said Deputy Director of the Department of Education for Ethnic Minorities (MOET) Le Nhu Xuyen.

Every Last Child in Vietnam is another step forward in SCI’s mission of improving the education of ethnic minority children nationwide.

The campaign was kick started on September 1 in a press conference attracting numerous news, media agencies and representatives from relevant authorities. The event, sponsored by the Vietnam Times, aims to raise public awareness on the issues facing minority children in Vietnam and facilitate public engagement in campaigning for improving ethnic minority children’s education and nutrition by 2017./.

( Phi Yen )

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