25/05/2023 - 9:19 pm
On 23 May 2023, a national workshop “Early Childhood Development: Leveraging Evidence for Policy and Practice in Vietnam” was held in Hanoi. It was attended by around 100 participants including Leaders from ECD-related Departments of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour Invalids and Social Affairs, and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour as well as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, USAID, INGOs, LNGOs, local institutes, Provincial health agencies, Trade Union agencies, and national print and broadcast media.
Early childhood development (ECD) plays a crucial role in shaping a child’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development during the early years of life and influences subsequent learning and earning capacity into their adulthood. In early years, from conception to age 2 is especially important with rapid neurological development, which influences . In Vietnam, ECD is increasingly recognized as a crucial form of human capital and the foundation for national development. It requires recognition of life-long learning with policy support and investment.
On 23 May 2023, a national workshop “Early Childhood Development: Leveraging Evidence for Policy and Practice in Vietnam” was held in Hanoi. It was attended by around 100 participants including Leaders from ECD-related Departments of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour Invalids and Social Affairs, and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour as well as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, USAID, INGOs, LNGOs, local institutes, Provincial health agencies, Trade Union agencies, and national print and broadcast media. The workshop was co-organized by the Research and Training Centre for Community Development (RTCCD), the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, the Ministry of Health and the Monash University Australia, with financial support from the Porticus and Grand Challenges Canada.
The objectives of this workshop were to discuss the inter-sectoral collaboration to promote and scale up ECD innovations in Vietnam, and those to support children of industrial zone workers in particular; to share approaches in building evidence to measure impact and cost-effectiveness to support policy and practice.
During the commencement of the workshop, Ms. Thai Thu Xuong, Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, delivered the inaugural address.
Following that, Dr. Tran Dang Khoa, Deputy Director of the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Ministry of Health, presented a welcoming speech and shared insightful perspectives on the Early Journey of Life
During the workshop, participants were treated to a series of five informative presentations. The initial presentation, delivered by Doctor Nguyen Mai Huong from the Ministry of Health, focused on the topic of “Policy Framework supporting Early Childhood Development in Vietnam” Dr. Mai Huong’s presentation encompassed the following key points:
The subsequent presentation was delivered by Professor Jane Fisher of Monash University and Ms. Tran Thi Thu Ha, the Director of RTCCD. Their joint presentation “Community Impact and Research-Based Evidence of An Early Childhood Development Innovation EJOL in Vietnam” covered the following key points in which findings of the cRCT was presented in point#2 and #3:
Moving on to the third presentation, Dr. Yeji delivered a session on the topic of “Cost-effectiveness of EJOL in promoting child development” The presentation addressed questions: How much does it cost? It is affordable? Does it value for money?
Following that, Ms. Do Hong Van, director of the Female Work and Policy Department of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, presented a compelling case study titled “Implementation of an E-learning Program on the First 1000 Days of Children’s Life for Industrial Zone Workers.” In Vietnam, the workforce comprises approximately 11 million individuals, with female workers accounting for 55.3%. There are currently 284 operational industrial zones, and around 12% of female workers are simultaneously pregnant or caring for children under the age of one.
In July 2022, VGCL initiated a pilot implementation of EJOL program at 10 factories located in Hanoi and Ha Nam. The program involved the utilization of the E-learning platform known as Early Journey of Life-Active Parenting Skills Training Program. Through this initiative, three courses were introduced to workers, resulting in 1,065 workers receiving in-person training, 971 workers enrolling and participating in learning activities on the EJOL E-learning website, and 212 union leaders being introduced to the E-learning platform.
The fifth presentation of the workshop titled “Leveraging Science for a New Era in Early Childhood Policy and Practice” was delivered by Prof. James Cairns from the Developing Child Centre at Harvard University, USA. Prof. Cairns provided comprehensive insights to the participants, highlighting the concept of transitioning from ECD 1.0 to ECD 2.0. He emphasized the importance of Early brain development in an environment of relationships (ECD 1.0) and the collaborative efforts among communities, businesses, and the government to create a supportive and healthy environment for families raising young children (ECD 2.0). The presentation was delivered in the form of a recorded video, which can be downloaded by clicking here.
Following the presentations, a panel discussion took place involving five distinguished members: leaders from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Invalid Affairs, Vietnam General Confederation of Labours, Monash University, and RTCCD. The panel experts engaged in discussions on promoting inter-sectoral cooperation for the development of a national ECD action framework and scaling up local ECD innovations in Vietnam. Workshop participants actively participated by asking questions and providing comments during the discussion.
The workshop was deemed successful, providing participants with insights of local ECD innovations and evidence, and inspiring ideas for result-oriented collaborations. Following the workshop, the RTCCD and Monash University team have scheduled personal meetings with ministries to further discuss joint actions aimed at promoting ECD policy and practice on a national scale in Vietnam. Workshop report: click here