Early childhood is a window of opportunity

Norway was represented by Dr. Ragnhild Dybdah, when The Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) hosted a Policy Forum to support human resource development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas of Vietnam. And it was she who said the almost poetic words:

“Early childhood is a window of opportunity,” and she continued

“where investments pay off.”

The last words is less poetic, but not less important. Vietnam faces serious challenges according to a report on ethnic minority human resources by Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA). The findings in the report include a high rate of stunting and malnutrition of children in ethnic minority and mountainous areas and a high infant mortality rate.

Education and training are crucial issues for ethnic minorities

“Improving the quality of human resources in ethnic areas is a key step towards meeting the requirements for national development,” said Mr K’Sor Phuoc, The President of the National Assembly’s Ethnic Minority Council

“In spite of Vietnam’s positive development, there are still limitations which needs to be addressed, particularly the development level and average income of ethnic minorities. The crucial issue is lying in the education and training for ethnic minorities,” he continued.

Educations are also an issue in the report by CEMA. It points at relatively poor quality education, high drop-out rate of students and study programmes that are unsuitable for many ethnic minority pupils as problems to be addressed.

Vietnam commended for improving situation of ethnic minorities

In a joint statement, the so called G4 countries Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and Norway welcomed the holding of the policy forum. They commended the Vietnamese Government for the progress that has improved the socio-economic situation of many ethnic minority communities in poor and remote areas of the country. The G4-group further expressed the importance of mainstreaming minority rights into the broader policy debate and legislative reform processes.

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