International media praises Vietnam’s lifelong learning initiatives

Friday, 2019-07-26 15:19:59
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Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha responds to the international reporters on the sidelines of the 50th Conference of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation in Malaysia.
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NDO- Vietnam's experience in building its national education strategy has been highly acknowledged and valued by the international media during the recently-concluded 50th Conference of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO).

Held from July 22 to 25 in Selangor, Malaysia, the SEAMEO focused on discussing the change of the educational landscape issue in support of socio-economic development goals in each country and in the region.

The conference offered an opportunity to open dialogues about strategic directions based on SEAMEO's seven priorities and called for closer cooperation in the field of education among the Southeast Asian countries and beyond.

In the context that the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training is actively directing the development of the national education development strategy in the 2020-2030 period, with the vision to 2045, the conference offered an opportunity for Vietnam to exchange experiences with Malaysia and countries in the region to develop its education strategy which meets the requirements of the actual situation in the country, towards approaching international education perspectives while ensuring the compliance with the development strategy of the region.

On the sidelines of the event, Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha responded to the international journalists on initiatives and policies Vietnam executed to increase the literacy level of the Vietnamese people. He stated that to improve the literacy level of students, Vietnam is shifting from knowledge-based to skills and competency-based teaching and learning, providing students with important skills needed in the 21st century.

In recent years, Vietnam has reformed both classroom assessment and teaching methods. A national teacher training programme has been implemented to prepare for the new curriculum. In addition, a lifelong learning spirit and the motivation of students has been also recognised as playing a critical role. According to the minister, Vietnam is promoting a national campaign on ‘Happy School’ to create an environment for students to foster their passion and motivation for learning.

Vietnam is moving toward functional literacy which aims to equip all citizens with essential knowledge. Minister Nha highlighted that in recent years, the Vietnamese government has proactively promoted a reading culture in schools and the community as a way to improve literacy level for both students and adults. The school-library system had been transformed significantly, from the traditional model with one central library within each school to innovative models with various small libraries around schools, such as “green” library, friendly library, electronic library, and class-room library to create a favourable environment so that students have regular access to books and are inspired to read books. The class-room library model was awarded the UNESCO International Literacy Prize as an initiative to effectively increase the literacy level of students in Vietnam

Furthermore, the minister acknowledged the importance of the community learning centres as a lifelong learning institute at grassroots level to help alleviate illiteracy and stabilise literacy levels of adult learners in Vietnam. Currently, Vietnam has around 11,000 community-based learning centres nationwide which provide literacy programmes integrated with community development programmes to teach learners about agriculture, nature, science and technologies, helping raise their standard of living and empower them to address the challenges they face in daily life and in their communities.

Finally, the education minister stressed that Vietnam is moving toward functional literacy which aims to equip all citizens with the necessary knowledge and skills to survive and develop well in the context of Industry 4.0, the knowledge-based economy and globalisation. English literacy for all, therefore, is one of the main priorities of the national literacy strategy in the near future. In order to achieve this goal, the Vietnamese Government is implementing multiple initiatives, such as promoting foreign language learning community-based models, increasing the effectiveness of public-private partnership, especially the engagement and contribution of foreign language centres nation-wide, and building a strong online platform for developing and offering open-educational resources and massive open online courses (MOOCs).