(CPV) - The Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA), with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) support, today held a Policy Forum to support Human Resource Development in Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Areas.
The Minister and Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Giang Seo Phu, President of the National Assembly’s Ethnic Minority Council K’Sor Phuoc and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta together underscored the Government of Vietnam’s commitment to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
The delegates, who included Government of Vietnam, National Assembly, United Nations, development partner, ethnic minority and research institute representatives, presented issues central to the human resource development policy-making process to create equal opportunities for ethnic minority people to participate in the socio-economic development process across Vietnam.
“The critical issue is that the internal capacity of ethnic minority areas and ethnic minorities is still limited and out of step with the rapid and big changes brought by a market economy. The core problem is that the level of education and training is low in terms of quantity and quality compared to average levels in districts and provinces,” Phuoc told the Forum today.
Areas where many ethnic minorities reside, such as the Northern Mountainous, Central Highlands and the South-West regions, have rapidly grown and increasingly integrated into the general development of the country.
However, the development level and average incomes in communes with a high density of ethnic minorities and householders are still relatively low compared to the average levels in provinces and districts. To address this widening gap, local onsite human resource development is needed in ethnic minority and mountainous areas.
According to a report on ethnic minority human resources, commissioned by CEMA with UNDP support, the level of human resources was insufficient to meet practical demands of ethnic minority areas. The report’s findings included:
The rate of stunting and malnutrition of children in ethnic minority and mountainous areas has decreased annually. However, it is still high compared to national averages. The under 1 year old child mortality rate is also high.
This is one of the reasons affecting the development of physical and intellectual capacities etc. of the human resource in ethnic minority and mountainous areas and ethnic minorities. Medical insurance, nutrition,mother and children care policies, as well as improving the quality of medical services in remote areas, should be considered to better ethnic minority people’s health.
The education system’s quantity and quality of teachers and teaching methods is below par. Study programmes are unsuitable, while the school-drop rate is still high at all school levels.
Though recently, the Ministry of Education and Training has allowed local provinces to make adjustment up to 30 per cent out of the general school programmes/curriculums to be suitable with the demand and practice of provinces, the study programmes/curriculums are still unsuitable for many ethnic minority pupils.
Bilingual training should be integrated and multiplied regarding scale and training quality to be more suitable to ethnic minority groups.
Development of high quality human resources is one of the main targets stated in the government’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy. Currently, 75 per cent of the population in ethnic minority areas is of working age, however, many potential workers lack training.
This is because short vocational training courses are unsuitable and have not met demand. Moreover, onsite job opportunities are hard to access as ethnic minority people usually live in remote areas with little investment from enterprises. Enhancing cooperation between vocational training units and enterprises will ensure that labour market information is disseminated more efficiently.
Regarding state management and the provision of public services, the rates of cadres who are of ethnic minority origin in the Provincial and District People Committees is still low (10.9 and 11.32 per cent, respectively).
Of the 48,200 commune ethnic minority cadres, 45.7 per cent have secondary school level education, 18.7 per cent to primary level and just 1.9 per cent college or university level education. This has negatively influenced the quality of provided public services and not met ethnic minorities’ demands in government programmes and policies.
With the above findings, there is a general view that human resources should play a key role in socio-economic development and poverty reduction in ethnic minority areas. As a result, investment in human resources development is essential.
Herefore, the development of human resources should be comprehensively considered as a key breakthrough strategic step in the Ethnic Minority Policy Framework towards 2020, focusing on strengthening the quality of ethnic minority human resources.
To support this objective, the United Nations has emphasized its role in creating openings and conditions for people and communities to access development opportunities.
“We acknowledged government efforts in organizing policy dialogues such as this Policy Forum held on August 14th 2012. Discussing human resource development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas is of primary importance to help Vietnam to define its policies and approaches to promote the development of ethnic minority areas and ensure the Millennium Objectives can be achieved in each ethnic minority community,” Mehta told the Forum.
At the Forum, government and international community representatives reconfirmed their commitment to ethnic minority development and poverty reduction issues in Vietnam and to work together to share lessons in formulating and implementing policies, programmes and projects to support the human resource development in ethnic minority areas in Vietnam to 2020./.