Vietnam marks significant strides in illiteracy eradication
Vietnam has achieved notable successes in eradicating illiteracy, and efforts continue to advance this mission, the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) reported on International Literacy Day, which falls on September 8.
Ethnic minority people participate in a literacy class in Binh Lieu District in northern Quang Ninh Province__Photo: VNA

Vietnam has achieved notable successes in eradicating illiteracy, and efforts continue to advance this mission, the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) reported on International Literacy Day, which falls on September 8.

In Vietnam, the literacy rates at Level 1 (completing Phase 1 of the illiteracy eradication program and engaging in continuing education after acquiring literacy skills) and Level 2 (completing Phase 2 of the illiteracy eradication program and engaging in continuing education after acquiring the skills) among people aged 15-60 stand at 98.85 percent and 97.29 percent, respectively.

All 63 provincial-level localities nationwide have achieved Level 1 in illiteracy elimination, and 48 of them, accounting for 76.19 percent, have reached Level 2. Four provinces achieved Level 2 in the 2022-23 academic year: Phu Yen, Kien Giang, Soc Trang, and Quang Nam.

Meanwhile, over 1 million people aged 15-60 remain illiterate at Level 1, and more than 2 million are illiterate at Level 2, predominantly ethnic minority individuals and women.

Some localities still record high illiteracy rates, including Ninh Thuan (10.52 percent), An Giang (7.3 per cent), Lai Chau (6.11 per cent), Ho Chi Minh City (6.45 percent), Ha Giang (4.58 percent), Gia Lai (4.49 percent), Bac Kan (4.45 percent), and Binh Phuoc (3.66 percent).

During the last academic year, more than 32,000 people enrolled in illiteracy eradication classes, an increase of over 12,000 from the 2021-22 school year. This has helped the country maintain its achievements in this area, according to provincial-level departments of education and training.

Nguyen Cong Vien, head of the Education and Training Department in Song Ma District, highlighted that adult literacy initiatives faced challenges as most of the participants were of working age. Consequently, the department had partnered with the women's union to organize classes with adaptable timings, ensuring full participation from learners and optimizing the effectiveness of these sessions.

The MoET reported that, in order to sustain the achievements and assist more localities in reaching Level 2 of illiteracy eradication, during the previous school year, authorities from various provinces and cities directed community learning centers and primary schools to motivate those unable to read or write to join illiteracy eradication classes. This includes Ha Giang (5,897 persons), Lai Chau (5,176), Lao Cai (2,325), Yen Bai (2,088), and Son La (2,303).

Many education departments had successfully engaged social forces in this mission by collaborating with departments of public security and departments of labor, invalids and social affairs to organize illiteracy eradication classes and provide vocational training for prisoners. They had also worked with border guard commands to intensify efforts to eradicate illiteracy and advance primary education universalization, as well as coordinating with education promotion associations and women’s unions to advocate for the development of a learning society.

Furthermore, several education departments had effectively executed public communication campaigns about illiteracy eradication, especially in ethnic minority regions.

As a consequence, the achievements had been sustainably maintained and further progress had been observed, as highlighted by the MoET.

For the 2023-24 school year, a primary objective set by the MoET for continuing education agencies was to further the elimination of illiteracy.

To enhance people's educational level as a means to aid poverty reduction, the MoET said that there was a need to increase support and create favorable conditions for vulnerable groups, those beyond the working age, homemakers, and the disabled to engage in lifelong learning. Stories of older individuals in their 60s, 70s or even 80s should be highlighted to promote the value of lifelong learning in society.

For the 2023-30 period, the MoET had initiated a movement that urges the entire nation's collective efforts towards building a learning society and championing lifelong learning. This program was designed to boost the entire political system's involvement in elevating public awareness about the importance of lifelong learning and a learning society. This, in turn, would contribute to the enhancement of human resources in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and global integration.

In a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency, UNESCO Chief Representative in Vietnam, Michael Croft, confirmed that UNESCO would persist in supporting Vietnam towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4, which revolves around lifelong learning and the establishment of a learning society.

He remarked that over the past decade, Vietnam achieved substantial advancements in literacy eradication and the promotion of lifelong learning. Nevertheless, disparities persisted among various groups.

Significantly, the Vietnamese Government had rolled out initiatives targeting illiterate and semi-literate individuals, such as launching literacy courses for adults in ethnic minority and underprivileged regions. Mechanisms had been instituted for local authorities to routinely oversee and assess community literacy standards, thus motivating thousands of adults to enroll in literacy courses at community learning centers.

However, Croft underscored the importance of distinguishing between basic reading and writing skills and functional literacy, advocating for a more expansive comprehension of these skills.

He noted that UNESCO had aided the Ministry of Education and Training in undertaking a thorough analysis and evaluation of the education sector. This collaboration resulted in the creation of Vietnam's 10-year Education Strategic Framework, which aligns with the Government's commitments to realizing Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4).

Croft further affirmed that UNESCO would persist in supporting Vietnam in its pursuit of SDG4, framed within the broader objectives of lifelong learning and fostering a learning society.- (VNS/VLLF)

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