6 highlights about Education gap from Miss Quynh Trang, Teach for Viet Nam

6 highlights about Education gap from Miss Quynh Trang, Teach for Viet Nam

We can see from episode 3 “Close the educational gap between urban and rural area” of the talk show “Philanthropy and Stories” accompanying host Thai Van Linh, which has exploited many aspects of education from the journey of Miss Nguyen Thi Quynh Trang, CEO of the non-profit social enterprise Teach for Viet Nam with the desire to improve the quality as well as eliminate inequality in education. Through the conversation, You Impact will share 6 outstanding features from the interview:

1. Education gap comes from many different reasons, Covid has exacerbated that gap

According to a survey by Young Lives in Vietnam, due to the impact of the Covid epidemic, in 2021, 69% of young people from rural areas will have to stop studying, compared to 23% from urban areas. The reason is not only in the curriculum but also in the quality of the teachers, the teaching methods, as well as the starting point of the students.

During the recent COVID pandemic, the number of students in rural areas who had access to computers and internet connections was only about 30-40%, compared to 60-70% in urban areas of Ho Chi Minh City, depending on the situation. area. Without access to the internet and equipment for online teaching, students in rural areas cannot access or learn as they do in urban areas.

The gap also lies in the fact that in remote areas, especially in grade 9 or the beginning of high school, you can easily become the main source of labour in the family. When you have to spend a lot of time to create a source of income for your family, when you start going back to school, it will be an obstacle for you, lose your will or reduce your interest in learning. continue to go to school. The general invisibility leads to the fact that you are forced to become workers very early, compared to other students who attend high school or go to vocational school.

2. Vietnam’s population 63% comes from rural areas. If we do not improve the quality of education in the rural areas, we will not have a source of labour in the future.

When we look at the research reports of international organizations, we can see that Vietnamese students are assessed as having low skills compared to the so-called job-ready skills – necessary skills that are needed for the work ​of Vietnamese students are much weaker than other students. Going back to the story that the number of students in rural areas is more than in urban areas, it can be seen that the quality of education will greatly affect the country’s future human resources. 

The second consequence relates to social problems. Because students in rural areas ​usually go to school half a day so they often don’t know what to do for the rest of the day. If they are not kept in school, not nurtured, not allowed to participate in activities like their urban counterparts. That will also lead to some of the social crimes and also to some other social security problems that we see clearly, in the studies.

3. Teach for Viet Nam selects and searches for young people who will become pioneering teachers.

In order to have solutions, it is necessary to understand what the problem is. Every region has its own problems. Supposing a big problem is students dropping out of school. However, students who drop out of school in mountainous areas will be very different from those who drop out in low land areas. The reason is these regions are completely different. It can come from parents’ mindset, it can come from the story of lacking​ the so-called​ role models, ​or maybe some students don’t have the motivation to learn.

Such problems vary from community to community, so in order to find the causes, we need to have leaders, ​the people,​ teachers clearly understand what problems their students are facing and see the connection among the relevant elements in the educational ecosystem. Because when a child goes to school, they will be affected a lot. The closest circle of them is their family, their teacher, then the school, further in is the impact of the socio-economic policy system, and organizations involved. That is why Teach for Vietnam selects and searches for young people who will become pioneering teachers.

The pioneer teachers will help to understand clearly what is the current problem in that locality and what are the specific and direct causes that affect the learning of children in that area. They will collaborate with local teachers, ​​parent community and stakeholders so that they can suggest a specific solution. For example, a solution related to role ​​models​​ that young people can follow and learn from.​ Sometimes it is a solution that involves working with parents to raise their awareness, and be able to see the problem: the child must go to school, they need further development.

At the same time, it is the story of improving the quality of education in the area in general and at school in particular. Through the curriculum, the young people who are called Pioneer teachers, will apply new teaching methods, ​focus on developing skills and mindset.

The world we are living in is already a world of constant change – a VUCA world – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. How can you prepare your students to focus on skills, mindsets and also the knowledge that can be learnt and cultivated themselves to develop? That program of Teach For Viet Nam is called a Leadership Development Fellowship for pioneer teachers.

4. The goal is that by 2050 all Vietnamese children will have a complete education

Teach For Viet Nam chooses public schools in remote areas because most of the children go to public schools according to the national education program – now it is also expanding to secondary schools. There are the cradles that have the deepest impact and greatest influence on students. Teach For Viet Nam starts with the public-school sector.

Secondly, the goal of Teach For Viet Nam is educational equality: how to eliminate educational inequality in urban and rural areas as well as improve the quality. Public schools in remote areas are the subject that Teach For Viet Nam wants to aim at first so that we can support, work together and solve problems first then more development opportunities later. 

In addition, the changes made by Teach For Viet Nam with clear evidence in public schools in remote areas can completely be replicated and can create an impact on policy. This can lead to sustainable changes in the long term since changes in the classroom are reflected in general local education policy as well as general education in the country. It will bring change to many children of Viet Nam and towards a goal that by 2050 all Vietnamese children will have a comprehensive education.

5. Desire to train young people because education is a long-term path 

These young people are called Pioneer teachers or​ fellows. They play 3 roles: 

  • One is the teacher, they will teach at school and at the same time they will get training and support to develop leadership and teaching skills, also necessary mindset to be able to implement the program. Through the teaching, they will develop the leadership of their students. They include mindset and skills related to 21st-century skills to the curriculum of subjects such as English for primary and secondary schools, STEM – an interdisciplinary science, or Entrepreneurship Education.
  • The second task is that they will support and develop the capacity of local teachers. They will work directly with the teachers in the school so that when Teach For Viet Nam leaves, they already pass all the knowledge and skills to the teachers. Moreover, they work together with teachers to create sustainable solutions for the area that the school located
  • They will act as a Community Leader. When you are a leader in the community you will figure out solutions through Community development projects. Those projects focus much on the reasons why students don’t go to school or focus on the causes and how to improve students’ abilities.

At the end of the second year, the fellows will understand very well how things happen in public schools, what problems teachers, students and families are having. After that, you will be on the path from being an alumni, a former Pioneer teacher to becoming a leader in education. It is the starting point for you to find a direction. Direction here could be the policy impact, could be continuing to teach in public schools, continuing further study and being able to give advice, recommendations for the education system. Ultimately the fellows can also become social entrepreneur who is able to create more sustainable solutions for the community.

The reason why Teach For Viet Nam wants to engage young people is that education is a long-term path. It is clear that the results of what we are doing at the moment will be shown in the next 5 to 10 years.

6. Sweet achievement after a tireless effort

From 2017 until now, Teach For Viet Nam has impacted more than 35,000 students and more than 100 schools in 3 provinces, which are Quang Nam, Tay Ninh and Ben Tre. And we have influenced more than 3,000 teachers via many different activities. 

One of the achievements that Teach for Viet Nam is probably proud of the most is when working with Tan Chau Education Department in Tay Ninh district. Before the cooperation with Teach for Viet Nam, it was ranked in 7/9 districts in terms of education quality, after only one year, the department has risen to third place. 

Besides, there are many other achievements such as Teach For Viet Nam has become one of the strategic parties of the Ministry of Education and Training to implement Start-Up education programs via STEM, English and design thinking for 14 provinces from 2019 to 2024. 

There are 3 ways that you can support us such as joining Teach for Viet Nam’s Leadership Development Fellowship program, supporting and taking part in Teach For Viet Nam campaigns via fundraising, communication and recruitment campaigns, and being a part of Teach For Viet Nam’s full-time team with the desired goal that by 2050, all Vietnamese children will have a comprehensive education.

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Watch the full 3rd episode here:

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