5,000 Students in Quang Binh Return to School with Support from Save the Children

Vietnamese students are back in the classroom and ready to succeed!

Working with schoolchildren, teachers, parents, and local government in this region, Save the Children’s Safe Back to School project builds the resilience of the education system, the school and ultimately the children.

The project aims to build alternative and innovative forms of learning and provide financial support to ensure continued learning for elementary students when schools are closed and reopen later, during pandemics or natural disasters. All students can access a safe learning environment when returning to school under any circumstances, including the Covid-19 pandemic; advocating for policies, building resilience and networking to ensure the sustainability and replication of the project in the future.

All schools coordinate with parents to prepare safe conditions against Covid-19 for students to come back to school.

This school year was extremely difficult and challenging for everyone because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In many provinces, students had to stay at home and used remote learning modalities for almost a year without meeting their friends or teachers. All the teachers and parents have also made great efforts to ensure students can continue studying in times of Covid-19 as well as have safe learning environment when they came back to school.

To support education sector, during the last school year, Save the Children has cooperated with the Quang Binh province's Department of Education to support primary students’ access to quality education in 12 project schools in Quang Trach and Bo Trach districts under the “Safe back to school” project.

Save the Children and the Quang Binh Department of Education and Training have been renovating and rebuilding WASH facilities in 12 project schools in Quang Trach and Bo Trach districts. In the second stage, another six new toilets will be rebuilt in 2022.

Save the Children’s Safe Back to School initiative kicked off in 2020 in response to Covid-19 and its detrimental impact on education, protection, health, and wellbeing – threatening development gains of recent decades.

More than 5,000 students in Quang Binh have been supported with a variety of activities including financial support for poor students, provisions of IT equipment, upgrade of hygiene and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) facility at schools, training for students and parents about cyber safety and promotion for children about gender, child protection and personal hygiene.

In addition, approximately 300 teachers participated in capacity development through training on information and communication technology (ICT), gender, child protection, children with special needs and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS).

To support students to study online at home, the project provides more than 70 laptops and computers, more than 60 TV screens and 14 cameras.

The ICT training would not have been as successful without the support of Tran Quoc Thang, head of the Preschool-Primary Education Department, Quang Binh's Department of Education. From the project's preparation stage, Thang played an important role in identifying teachers’ challenges and difficulties. “In the previous training in the university, teachers were not trained how to apply IT into designing and delivering online learning sessions, they only studied the fundamentals of information technology without gaining skills and techniques to design and deliver online lessons”.

The training plan and agenda were developed thanks to his contribution, from choosing the most suitable time so as not to affect students’ study at school to providing technical inputs based on the reality of teaching and learning in Quang Binh. In addition, he also monitored the training online and inspired teachers, although it took place on the weekend.

The presence of Thang, a professional department leader of the provincial-level agency, motivated teachers in project schools to attend more actively and enthusiastically.

“Quang Binh DOET has already issued documents for developing a reference bank of teaching materials. Starting from this school year, besides lesson plans, lesson design and presentations will be included in the bank. This training organized by Save the Children and Quang Binh DOET is very necessary in the current situation,” Thang shared about the implementation plan to further develop teachers’ capacity in the future after the training.

200 students have received scholarships to help them maintain school even in the most difficult situations.

A school year passed by, and students from 12 project schools started their summer holidays, however they could continue learning activities with materials provided by the project and prepare for a fruitful upcoming new school year.

Through the “Safe back to school” project, we hope to contribute to the effort of ensuring all project students in particular, and all primary students in Vietnam in general, fulfil their right to non-stop education and having safe environment to learn and develop. All best practices and project model will be documented and shared for future scale-up.