The project aims to improve access and retention of ethnic minority children, especially girls in lower secondary school, and to improve employment opportunities for ethnic minority girls and women.

Mr. Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator. (Photo: Khac Kien)

Mr. Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator, highlights the issue of limited access to education among ethnic minority children, especially girls: “The report also reveals that ethnic minority children have limited access to education. The percentages of out-of-school children of primary and lower secondary school going ages for the Kinh group were 2 per cent and 6 per cent respectively, while those for some ethnic minority groups were around 10 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. The gender gap in the percentage of out-of-school children was very small at the national level. However, girls in some ethnic minority groups were less likely to go to primary and lower secondary school than boys.”

Following the successful completion of the project ‘Gender Equality and Girls’ Education Initiative in Viet Nam’, working closely with national and local authorities, UNESCO will focus its new efforts on ethnic minorities women and girls, helping them to ensure equal access to quality education and employment opportunities within a safe and friendly environment, free from violence and abuse.

Mr. Tran Kim Tu, Deputy Director General, Department of Teachers and Education Administrators, Ministry of Education and Training. (Photo: Khac Kien)

Designed in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Training and the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, the project will support the implementation of the Education Development Strategic Plan 2011-2020, the Action Plan for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 and the National Strategy concerning Ethnic Minority Affairs until 2020.

Under the motto ‘Achieving Better Living and Education’, the project will engage with 16,000 persons, including ethnic minority school students, teachers, principals, education officials, parents and community members in three provinces: Ha Giang, Ninh Thuan and Soc Trang.

The project also reflects the continued commitment of CJ Group, with whom UNESCO collaborates globally in support of girls’ education, as well as the personal engagement of the Executive Vice President of Global CSV, Ms. Heekyung Jo Min, who traveled to Ha Giang province in March 2019 to better understand the challenges faced by local populations. The partnership between CJ Group and UNESCO is based on a shared understanding that development solutions must take a multidimensional approach to address challenges effectively and sustainably.

Ms. Heekyung Jo Min, Executive Vice President Global Creating Shared Value, CJ Group. (Photo: Khac Kien)

Ms. Heekyung Jo Min states: “Through this project, we hope ethnic minority girls can grow as respectable members of Vietnamese society with competence, skills, and self-esteem. For this, in addition to giving financial support, we plan to actively hold campaigns that promote the importance of girls’ education by utilizing the cultural platform of CJ Group.”

The project has four main areas of focus: enhancing the understanding on the importance of girls’ education by allowing youth, especially young women, to demonstrate how education can positively influence their lives and the lives of their families and communities; fostering a safe and healthy educational environment by enhancing knowledge of gender-based violence in schools and strengthening teachers’ capacities on gender-responsive school counselling; improving employment opportunities for girls and young women through targeted career orientation programmes, training on income generation and facilitating access to the labor market; and supporting ethnic minority youth to overcome stereotypes and enhance understanding with their peers – other Vietnamese youth – across the country.

Mr. Michael Croft, UNESCO Representative to Viet Nam. (Photo: Khac Kien)
Mr. Michael Croft, UNESCO Representative to Viet Nam, stresses: “UNESCO is committed to respecting the traditional cultures of ethnic minority groups, working together with them and local and national authorities to support ethnic minority youth, especially women and girls, to give voice to their dreams, aspirations and hope for the future. The “We Are Able” slogan says it all; ethnic minorities in Viet Nam are indeed able to contribute to the amazing transformation taking place in this country – and we look forward to hearing what they have to say”./.

Khac Kien