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4.4 million preschool students missed school in 2021-22

Closures have affected up to 4.4 million preschool children over the 2021-22 period when the COVID-19 outbreak worsened in Vietnam, according to the education ministry.

A kindergarten in Hà Nội on April 13, 2022, the first day of reopening after nearly a year of closure due to COVID-19. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Đức

During an online conference held by the ministry on the maintenance of kindergarten operations amid COVID-19, it is said that due to the characteristic nature of the kindergarten-level education where online classes are not possible, kindergarten teachers – who still remained in the profession – would have made videos on caring for the kids and some lessons to provide for parents.

Some argue that the education sector needs to find solutions for children to have access to preschool programmes, to ensure children’s rights, especially for children aged five years old, to prepare them for Grade 1 in primary schools, as many parents are still not confident about sending their kids to schools.

Experts also said that it is necessary to consult with the Government and propose to the Ministry of Health to organise vaccination against COVID-19 for children under five years old.

To date, nearly 100 per cent of the adult population in Việt Nam has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (with 55 per cent receiving the booster shot already), while 96.3 per cent of the children aged 12-17 years have received the full two doses.

Việt Nam has just begun to inoculate the young children aged 5-12 years in mid-April, and nearly 900,000 first doses have been administered in this age group so far.

According to the report from 63 provincial/municipal education and training departments, by April 18, 2022, preschool educational institutions across Việt Nam have all reopened.

At this time, the number of teachers at this level has basically met the needs of children attending in-person activities. The rate of children's in-person participation in localities was quite low at first, but now the number has stabilised.

Deputy education minister Ngô Thị Minh stressed that we must not let COVID-19 disrupt the development of children, asking local governments to pay attention to private kindergarten institutions that are still reeling from long periods of shutdowns, to ensure children’s learning rights.

The Government has also approved a credit package of VNĐ1.4 trillion (US$60.9 million) to support private kindergartens and primary schools, she noted.

Source: VNS

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