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  • Writer's pictureRon Budd

Vietnamese Enthusiasm for 21st-Century Literacy and the Strains of COVID

Behind the smiles you’ll find a people striving to outperform the world despite the recurring crisis.

There’s a lot to love about Vietnam. I know because I’ve lived and worked there. The people are without a doubt friendly, loyal and longsuffering. And more importantly, their people have worked diligently to propel every aspect of their society onto the world stage. This includes a very important aspect of their society that I’m familiar with. That aspect is 21st-century literacy. Parents and educators alike have made the maintenance and continual adaptation of their education system a top priority.

In order to meet the needs of the 21st-century, schools in Vietnam rely on two sources of funding. One is public and the other private. This translates into discrepancies between various schools’ resources. If you find yourself within a wealthy district in the country, you’ll find schools on par with anything in the world. Computer, projectors and smartboards are the norm. Less prosperous districts not so much. I must admit, even the less fortunate districts shower excessive resources upon their schools. Wherever you may find yourself, all districts take great pride in their community funded schools.

So at this point, I’m concerned about the impact the COVID crisis is going to have on the future of Vietnam’s education system. Vietnam has been moving in and out of a lockdown state since 2020. This has arguably put the breaks on Vietnam’s economy. Vietnam’s once roaring economy is faltering. And from this situation many questions arise. One question I’m concerned with is, “How long will it take Vietnam to recover from the devastating effects of what appears to be never-ending lockdowns?” When people aren’t working essential revenue is not being generated. Since Vietnam’s school system depends upon tax revenue and community resources: I worry. All the current news concerning the Vietnamese economy is bad. I soon expect the economic strains to begin to effect the flow of resources into Vietnam’s schools. If it already hasn't.

For Vietnam to continue to be a competitor the nation must continue to allocate the needed funds to equip their youth with the essential 21st-century resources. Unfortunately, those funds are slowly dwindling. The current education minister Nguyễn Kim Sơn needs your prayers as does the entire Vietnamese education system. A slip can lead to a fall and a fall is the last thing Vietnam’s youth need at this moment.

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