Improving the Quality of Education for Ethnic Minorities in Vietnam


Improving the quality of education for ethnic minorities in Vietnam

Vietnam is home to more than 50 ethnic minorities, and many of these people live in villages in the mountains or other areas that are difficult to access, meaning that children do not have sufficient opportunities to learn Vietnamese, the country’s common language. As a result, many of these children fall behind after entering elementary school, and this has become a social issue.

This project aims to create a comprehensive learning environment including textbooks and teacher training so that these children can receive an education, starting in preschool, in both their native language and the common Vietnamese language. The project is being jointly funded by The Nippon Foundation and Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and will be carried out in coordination with Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training. The Nippon Foundation has worked with the Ministry of Education and Training in the past, and this is its first time to partner with GPE. The support will be made through Save the Children International’s Vietnam office in cooperation with other local organizations.

Vietnam’s diverse language environment and its importance

Roughly 90 languages are used by Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minorities. Developing language ability in one’s mother tongue is extremely important for children, and serves as a foundation that enables children to learn in both the academic Vietnamese language as well as in other languages.
Nevertheless, many ethnic minority languages are being spoken by increasingly fewer people, and with young people moving to urban areas and becoming assimilated into the larger population, these languages are at risk of disappearing. For these groups, it is essential that their children learn in their own language from a young age and have pride in their culture and language.

Initiatives in education to preserve ethnic minorities’ languages and cultures

Schools do not have enough teachers who are able to teach in ethnic minority languages, meaning that these children have no choice but to study subjects in the common language of Vietnamese, which they have not mastered. This project supports learning environments in which preschool children receive a bilingual education based on their native language, so that they do not face the difficulty of overcoming language barriers after entering school. The project will also train teachers to be able to support children in their native language after they start school.

Creating inclusive educational environments

In Vietnam, only one in seven teachers has received training in how to teach students with disabilities, meaning that there is insufficient support for students with disabilities. This project will formulate guidelines for supporting children with disabilities and conduct research to be able to offer appropriate support in line with teachers’ circumstances and environment.
The Nippon Foundation is working to create inclusive educational environments in which all children are able to realize their full potential regardless of the place and environment in which they are born.

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International Program Team
The Nippon Foundation

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