Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — An introductory session for elected officials on Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) was held on Tuesday by the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, in partnership with the Ministry of Labour Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and UNICEF.
The session aimed to increase awareness among National Assembly (NA) members on the importance of IECD and obtain their commitment to promote IECD in the work of elected bodies.
“Having the IECD programme in place is important. Equally important is to ensure it is put into operation on the ground. Effective implementation of IECD will require the strong attention and engagement of elected officials in reinforcing their oversight and ensuring the programme is fully financed, well-coordinated and scaled up at a national level,” said Ngô Thị Minh, Deputy Chairwoman of the NA’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children.
IECD refers to a comprehensive care and development approach for children from birth to eight years of age. It enables families to access multiple services for their young children and themselves in a cohesive way.
The integration of the services seeks to maximise the impact of different early childhood disciplines with a clear focus on the child, within the context of their family and community.
In Việt Nam, major gaps remain in supporting the cognitive and emotional development of girls and boys, especially for those under eight years of age. Close to 25 per cent of children under five years of age suffer from stunted emotional and educational growth.
Approximately 72 per cent of preschool age children (aged from three to five) and 9.4 per cent of kindergarten age children (aged under three) do not attend any formal pre-learning programme.
Every year, about 2,000 children experience violence and abuse; 170,000 children are without parental care; and many are injured, including drowning, one of the leading cause of death in children.
The importance of investing in early childhood development has been increasingly recognised by Việt Nam, with the passage of Party Resolutions regarding the care, protection, education and health and nutrition of children, the approval of the Law on Children in 2016, which is the primary piece of legislation for the protection, care and education for children including infants, and the passage of the Law on Health Insurance offering free healthcare for children under six years of age.
“The National Assembly of Việt Nam has a vital role in promoting the nationwide implementation of Integrated Early Childhood Development, bringing together different agencies that play a critical role in the life of a child. Failing to have a strong commitment to invest in and implement IECD would come at a great cost with poor learning, slow physical growth, lower wages, higher unemployment, and increased dependence on public assistance that weigh down economic and social progress for everyone”, said Yoshimi Nishino, Acting Deputy Representative of UNICEF Việt Nam. — VNS