Ethnic students to get free schooling

Published: 31/01/2011 05:00



Students from the smallest ethnic
minority groups at all education levels will be exempted from education fees
beginning in March this year following a recently issued Government decree.

A resettlement area in Phieng Lanh
Town in the northern mountainous province of Son La’s Quynh Nhai District.
Ethnic minority students are to be exempted from school fees from March
following a recently issued Government decree. (Photo: VNS)

minority students from disadvantaged areas will also benefit from the policy.

decree also prioritises the development of educational facilities for ethnic
minority students. Nursery schools all the way up to high schools and vocational
training schools, along with community-based learning centres, will be improved
to help promote human resources training.

decree also sets out concrete conditions and measures that aim to support ethnic
students by providing them with accommodations or loan provisions. Schools will
also be required to hire ethnic teachers that will be sent to low-income areas
to work.

Regarding sustainable development policies, the decree requires relevant
ministries and agencies to ensure that ample investment is made in
socio-economic development and basic infrastructure in areas that are inhabited
by ethnic groups. The policies aim to effectively tap the potential of each
region, while also protecting the areas’ environments.

Officials have been instructed to create favourable conditions to draw more
investment from organisations, individuals and businesses both inside and
outside the country. They should also focus on developing vocational training
programmes, using local labourers, providing residents with stable incomes and
improving infrastructure in relevant areas.

Ministries and agencies have been instructed to implement poverty reduction
programmes; generate jobs; and solve problems relating to capital, land and
production for ethnic farmers.

decree requires officials to develop natural disaster prevention plans in
relevant areas.

regards to health care, the health ministry was instructed to ensure that ethnic
citizens receive access to health care services. The ministry must also create
health care and health insurance programmes for ethnic groups that are in line
with current regulations.

ministry will also focus on upgrading and expanding treatment facilities and
provide ethnic groups with more medical supplies.

Concerning information and telecommunications, the decree requires the Ministry
of Information and Communications to focus on developing the telecommunication’s
infrastructure in these areas and provide basic equipment to the affected

the decree, ethnic minorities with low incomes will have access to free legal

the past year, the Government passed several policies that seek to support
ethnic groups, particularly Programme 135 - Phase 2.

five-year poverty reduction programme, which was implemented between 2006 and
2010, had a budget of approximately US$800 million. The programme sought to
improve basic infrastructure, increase market-oriented agriculture production,
better socio-cultural livelihoods by improving access to social services and
increasing capacity building for officials at all levels to better implement the

programme, which was implemented in more than 1,950 communes in 50 provinces
that are home to a majority of the country’s ethnic minority groups, helped
reduce poverty rates in impoverished communities from 47 per cent in 2006 to
28.8 per cent in 2010.

head of the Department for Ethnic Minorities in northern Tuyen Quang Province Au
Van Hanh said the living conditions for local ethnic groups were much better in
comparison to previous years thanks to Government policies and support

capita income for locals in communes that benefited from Programme 135 increased
to more thanVND4 million ($204) per year.

“However, difficulties remain including a lack of infrastructure and little
access to social services and education,” said Hanh. “The new decree is expected
to create more conditions to help bridge the development gap between areas where
ethnic minorities live and other areas.”

decree will become effective on March 4.Viet Nam consists of 54 ethnic groups,
including 53 minority groups with a total of more than 8 million people. They
are scattered across mountainous areas throughout the country.

largest ethnic minority groups include the Tay, Thai, Muong, Hoa, Khmer and Nung
that each have a population of about 1 million people, while the smaller include
the Brau, Odu and Ro mam that have several hundred people each.

Nam News

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