We’ve come a long way but…

VIE06-girl at computer.JPGThe author, Luong Thuy Linh is 14 years old and attends Le Quy Don Secondary School in Lao Cai city.

It is said that children are the future of the country, or in other words, ‘Children today, the world tomorrow’. Nowadays, children in Vietnam enjoy a peaceful life, provided not only with food, clothes and education but also entertainment facilities, along with lots of attention, care and love from the community. Thanks to our country’s rapid development as well as advances in technology, the quality of our education system has improved significantly day by day.

Take my school, one of the best schools in Lao Cai city, as an example. Although it’s not big, the facilities are quite good, with a tree-filled playground, more equipment, and a clinic providing basic healthcare services. In recent years, teaching methods have also changed. Equipment such as computers and overhead projectors are often used in class, making lessons interesting and fun. In this way, pupils not only grasp the content more easily but also have the chance to learn about advances in technology. However, it is a challenge for both teachers and pupils as we have only one projector for all the classes and it takes a long time to prepare one Powerpoint.

But when it comes to other schools in the highlands, there are a lot of difficulties. Anyone who’s ever visited may have some insight into the facilities. Some schools are built of bamboo, some lack furniture, and some boarding schools don’t even have electricity so pupils have to use a torch rather than electric light in the evening. Plus, in some regions with no asphalted roads, it takes a long time for pupils to cross miles of mountain road and streams simply to get to school. Also, there are hardly any clinics, and those that there are have only a few nurses. Occasionally, a doctor visits as part of a health campaign. These difficulties can only be solved with substantial financial support and enthusiastic manpower.

We need to build a safe, stable and well-equipped educational environment for our children, especially in difficult areas. But don’t forget: as well as improvements in facilities and infrastructure, care and support from society at large are just as important.

KEY FACTS: EDUCATION FACILITIES IN VIETNAM

  • The population of Vietnam in 2007 was an estimated 85 million, of which 75 per cent is rural.
  • Economic growth averaged 7.5 per cent between 1990 and 2004 and poverty fell rapidly.
  • Rural areas have substantially higher rates of poverty and poorer access to services than urban areas.
  • Ethnic minorities account for 39.3 per cent of all poor people, despite representing only 12.6 per cent of the total population.
  • It is estimated that the poverty rate for ethnic minorities is 69.3 per cent, compared to 23.11 per cent for the majority Kinh and Chinese ethnic groups.

Sources: 2007/2008 UN Human Development Report; Young Lives (2009) Nothing is impossible for me: Stories from Young Lives children; Oxford: Young Lives; UNICEF web page (2010): ‘Vietnam’.


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