|Children work during the summer holidays in the northern province of Lao Cai. A report has named child labour as one reason why children drop out of school. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Thuy.
HA NOI (VNS) — The percentage of children who have never attended school in Viet Nam is high, according to a report unveiled in Ha Noi yesterday.
The "Out-of-school children: Viet Nam study" report, which defines out-of-school pupils as those aged between 5 and 17 who do not receive a formal education, showed that on average 2.57 per cent of Vietnamese children were not attending school.
The proportion was especially high among children from the country's Mong ethnic group, at 23.02 per cent, the highest rate of any ethnic group.
The report also showed that percentage of children who dropped out of school increased dramatically as age increased. At 14, almost 16 per cent had dropped out of schools. At 17, the number increased to more than 39 per cent.
The "Out-of-school children" study is a global initiative launched by the UNICEF and UNESCO Institute for Statistics. With support from UNICEF Viet Nam, the Ministry of Education and Training has participated in this initiative since 2012. The report was completed by the end of last year.
The report aimed to continue building awareness and to foster dialogue on disadvantaged children who did not have access to education, said Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Vinh Hien.
"It provides the platform for advocacy to remove barriers to ensure the right to education for every child," he said.
The report is based on data collected from the 2009 Viet Nam Population and Housing Census and focusing on children aged 5 to 14.
The report also highlighted disparities between migrant and non-migrant groups. Migrant groups consistently performed worse than non-migrant groups, while migrant families had a higher out-of-school rate for five-year olds than non-migrant families.
Children with disabilities also faced disadvantages in accessing education with very low enrolment rates and a very high out-of-school rate. The primary and junior secondary school rate was 25 per cent for partially disabled children and up to 90 per cent for disabled children.
The report recommended reducing the flow of children into child labour by helping children temporarily removed from schooling to catch up and complete their education. It also suggested improving the number of trained ethnic minority, local and specialised teachers.
But the report also called for further investment in school infrastructure with priority given to kindergarten facilities, particularly in ethnic minority and remote areas. More educational institutions were also needed to be developed for children with disabilities.
Textbooks reforms also need to focus on simplifying curriculums and helping to foster practical skills, it said. — VNS