Ensuring Access to Education is Available For All During COVID-19
Whilst the Coronavirus pandemic spreads, the world keeps turning and for Better Life Vietnam (BLV), their mission to transform lives through education, by providing the country’s underprivileged youth with educational opportunities, has only increased in importance.
Efforts to stem the spread of the virus through social-distancing and isolation measures have affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the widespread closures of schools. As of 28th March 2020, over 1.7 billion learners were taken out of school in response to COVID-19. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), over 100 countries have implemented the closures, impacting nearly 90% of the world’s student population.
In Vietnam, both public and private schools remain shut, forcing parents away from work to homeschool their children, and leaving an unpalatable burn on the country’s socio-economic development. Luckily for those who live in urbanised Vietnam, online learning platforms have been introduced to aid parents in structuring school days, teaching and setting homework. When access to these technologies and resources are paired with access to books, results have shown constructive effects on students’ learning. The Vietnamese government not only recognises education as a national priority, but also it believes education is a human right throughout life, regardless of background, and that educational access must be matched by quality. This fundamental belief is shared by Better Life Vietnam.
Unfortunately, access to quality education is more difficult to come by for families living in rural Vietnam and as a result, reading levels of students are so low that pupils are only able to read 1-2 books aside from textbooks a year. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the BLV Books Library Program is continuing to combat the shortage of books in rural areas, promoting a more popular reading culture.
Additionally, recent studies reveal that only 10.5% of Vietnamese graduates have some degree of English proficiency that is applicable for work. English is currently on track to become the second most spoken language in Vietnam. However, most public learning centres are located in densely populated cities and offer classes at a cost that is too high for lower-income families to afford. The BLV English Class Program aims to increase the level of English-language proficiency in underprivileged students. Additionally, the BLV Scholarship Program helps children in need by covering their school expenses and providing guidance to their families by helping them to start a sustainable, income-generating model - such as growing organic vegetables and raising chickens. These life-changing programs enable children to take charge of their development and future.
Although we are living in an uncertain world, with unsettling news about the COVID-19 pandemic and the footing of our global future, BLV has been working tirelessly in rural areas to ensure that students are given an equal opportunity to access education as those in urban Vietnam.