Children from the south-central province of Ninh Thuan voiced their hopes and concerns about school and family life during a public forum attended by provincial authorities.
“Our school has only one run-down toilet that accommodates more than 700 pupils. We wish that our school would have more toilets and the existing one would be improved.”
“We love going to school but our parents often order us to go farm or graze cows. Do you have any way to persuade our parents to let us go to school regularly?”
“We want our parents to stop quarreling and fighting. We also want them to care more about our studies.”
These comments, which were made by pupils from primary and secondary schools in Ninh Thuan Province, were raised at a recent children forum titled “My rights, My voice.”
Provincial leaders respond to children's questions during a public forum in Ninh Thuan Province. Photo: An Huy
During the forum children from the Kinh, Cham and Raglai communities spoke openly about their schools’ infrastructure and curriculum as well as their relationships with schoolmates, teachers, and parents.
The event was jointly held by Ninh Thuan Television and the international NGO Oxfam.
A group of attendant provincial leaders that included People’s Committee Deputy Chairman Bui Nhat Quang and Education and Training Department Deputy Director Le Ba Phuong pledged to respond to their various needs and concerns.
Organizers said the forum was created to improve children’s roles in their school and home lives and help provincial officials better understand children's needs to ensure that future policy changes involve practical improvements.
The forum is part of the “Promoting Social Accountability in Vietnam's Education Sector” project, that's been implemented by Oxfam and its partners in the northern province of Lao Cai, the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong, and Ninh Thuan since 2011.
The project aims to bring more children, especially girls and ethnic minority children, enjoy a basic standard of education.
The project attracted the participation from provincial legislators, education officials, women’s union, and youth’s union and has helped raise public awareness about children’s rights, said Bui Nhat Quang from the Ninh Thuan’s People’s Committee.