USAID Helps Refurbish and Equip 25 Preschools in Kon Tum
Kon Tum, June 16, 2011 –- The Kon Tum People's Committee joined the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Director in Vietnam, Francis Donovan, and representatives from the East Meets West Foundation (EMW) to hand over 25 refurbished preschools to local education authorities and parents.
These early childhood care and education centers have been structurally improved under the three-year, $1.3 million “Improving Education in the Central Highlands” project, which is funded by USAID and implemented by the EMW.
The 25 schools, which serve over 2,000 children between the ages of 3 and 5, are equipped with age-appropriate furnishings and materials and have sanitary bathrooms and kitchens.
All these students now have a safe place to learn and play, regular meals, and enriching activities to help get them ready for elementary school.
Collaborating closely with local officials, USAID and EMW have supported education in Kon Tum Province since 2008. This assistance includes construction of the Kon Ray Ethnic Minority Boarding School for secondary students, as well as training programs for teachers and income-generating assistance for families to enable them to earn enough money to keep their children in school.
In addition to the refurbished kindergartens, the project has trained 250 teachers at the early childhood, primary and secondary levels in teaching skills covering art, linguistics, mathematics, nutrition and crafting teaching aids.
More than 900 women in 25 communes have been equipped with early childhood care and development knowledge and skills. There is also an intensive teacher training program focusing on the special needs of disabled and ethnic minority students.
“This project is making a significant difference in the lives of ethnically marginalized people of the Central Highlands,” said USAID Director Francis Donovan. “More children are completing school, parents are mobilizing to support the Kon Ray School and district kindergartens, and women are taking leadership roles in promoting and monitoring the project. We are grateful for the proactive role the communities and local authorities have played in making this project successful.”
A significant focus of the program is to engage civil organizations in preparing young children and their families to enter primary schools. The program works with the Women’s Union and the Study Promotion Association, two organizations with a strong presence and a network of volunteers throughout the province. They help raise awareness in the community about early childhood education and development and mobilize families to provide financial support to the centers as well as to monitor the pupils’ progress. In addition, the Women’s Union has targeted its microcredit funds to families that send children to centers supported under the program.