An inspiring teacher's commitment to quality education in Vietnam

At Khun Há Primary School, located in the verdant mountain province of Lai Chau, teacher Tạ Thị Thùy is committed to advancing quality education in Vietnam.

Although she already has 15 years of teaching experience, Thùy decided to participate in Action Education's (formerly Aide et Action) teacher training activities in order to improve her teaching and to better support her students, who are mostly from ethnic minorities.
In terms of school enrolment, children from the Vietnamese Kinh majority and ethnic minority groups share similar rates during primary and lower secondary school. However, once they reach the age of 15, children from minority groups are less likely to continue their education. World Bank research indicates that approximately 74% of Kihn attend upper secondary schools, compared to only 44% of minority group children.

Tackling language barriers

Children from minority groups also lag behind in terms of educational attainment and, according to Thu Huong Tong, project manager of Action Education Vietnam, the importance of mother tongue instruction needs to be addressed in pre-primary and primary education in order to keep minority children in school longer. " This will improve reading achievement in the national languages later in school, thus reducing one of the factors contributing to school drop-out. This is the priority of the new public education programme until 2030" explains Ms Huong.
The students who attend Thùy School are mostly of H'mong origin and speak H'mong at home. When they are introduced to the school environment where classes are taught in Vietnamese, it can be difficult for them to communicate and adapt. " To overcome these difficulties, I try to have conversations with the children, communicate more with their parents and learn more from my colleagues.says Thùy.

Support for teachers

To support Thùy and his colleagues, Action Education organises communication sessions and experiential activities to strengthen the link between families, schools and commune authorities. Since January 2022, our work in this area has reached 1,624 children in Vietnam (including 48% girls), 936 pre-school children and 688 primary school children. We have accompanied 57 pre-school teachers, 128 primary school teachers and 9 school headmasters through capacity building activities such as online training and coaching, peer learning activities and dialogue meetings.

For Thùy, these activities have given her a better understanding of child-friendly pedagogies, which she is now implementing. " Since the lessons have become more exciting, interesting and effective, I see a lot of positive excitement from the students, and the quality of the teaching is improved" she notes. " For example, in student-centred teaching methods, when games are used in lessons, students enjoy and understand more deeply, and the lesson is not boring like the old teaching methods..

Thùy's proudest moment as a teacher

Thùy's motivation is to ensure that Hmong students receive a quality primary education. " I myself found that I had to change to become a motivational teacher, because my students are 90 % Hmongs and I have to grow every day so that they can grow. "Speaking of her proudest moment as a teacher, Thùy recalls the student Lu A Phi.

Initially, Lu A Phi was shy and did not pay much attention during class time, which greatly affected the quality of learning of the whole class" Thuy recalls. " Often Phi would miss school for no reason, but through the exchange process and with the help of his friends and myself, I tried to create the conditions for Phi to get along better with the class and participate in group activities. After a while, Phi has changed a lot and can now confidently share more ideas, play with his friends and get better grades. "

For Thùy, seeing positive changes and growth in students like Phi is what makes her job rewarding. " What makes me happiest is the positive development of the students" she says. This not only helps children become better themselves, but also makes their parents feel more secure in sending their children to school.

A shared commitment to advancing quality education in Vietnam

Thanks to the commitment of teachers like Thùy, our project activities have enabled 100 % of the ethnic minority children we work with to have better access to an improved learning environment. In addition, 70 % of the head teachers we work with have changed their school practices based on the training they have received and the dialogues we have had with carers. 70 % of the carers we work with have also become more actively involved in educational activities at school and at home. Today, 60 % of the local authorities we work with are integrating early childhood care and education into their annual commune and district plans and we have seen an increase of 10 % in the number of meetings with regional governments and education authorities.

We thank all our partners for supporting and advancing our commitment to quality education for all.

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