Supported by the Norwegian Embassy in Vietnam, a new report from Young Lives – an international study of childhood poverty – has recently been launched. The report demonstrates how attending school is only one set of influences on a child’s learning, and that home backgrounds and early childhood development are crucial factors to be considered in education policies and programs for children.
Launching of the Young Lives Report in Hanoi
The Norwegian Ambassador, Mr. Ståle Torstein Risa, opened the launch and pointed out how useful the Young Lives study is for the future of Vietnam. Understanding how children learn, and what factors affect their ability to develop cognitive skills is crucial for their individual future and the future of Vietnam.
Christian Bodewig from the World Bank commented that the Young Lives data show that Vietnam produces better learning outcomes at various age levels than Peru, India and Ethiopia. The findings from Young Lives are confirmed by evidence from the World Bank STEP skill measurement surveys which show that Vietnamese adults have higher literacy skills than their peers in several other countries. The question is; how can Vietnam build further on this success to ensure high quality skills formation and for all?
Both comments from the World Bank and from Lotta Sylwander from UNICEF made it clear that more focus on Early Childhood Development (ECD) is important to meet the challenges related to childhood poverty and education. Much disadvantage is established already at age 5 and the primary education system is not able to reverse this.
It was also commented that more focus on higher order cognitive and behavioral skills are needed to meet the demand for not just technical but also higher order cognitive skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking. A more varied instruction and curriculum, more involvement of parents and communities could be part of the development.
Young Lives – studying childhood poverty
Young Lives is an international study of childhood poverty, involving 12.000 children in 4 countries over 15 years. It is led by a team in the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford in association with research and policy partners in four study countries: Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. The Vietnamese partner is Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences.
Source: The Norwegian Embassy in Vietnam