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UNICEF

Introductory session for elected officials on Early Childhood Development

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Ha Noi, 6th March 2018 – An introductory session for elected officials on Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) has been held today by the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children in partnership with the Ministry of Labour Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and UNICEF to increase awareness of National Assembly Members on the importance of IECD and obtain their commitment to promote IECD in the work of elected bodies.

“Having the IECD programme in place is important. Equally important is to ensure it is operationalized on the ground. Effective implementation of IECD will require strong attention and engagement of elected officials in reinforcing their oversight function ensuring the programme is fully financed, well-coordinated and scaled up at national level”, said Ms Ngo Thi Minh, Vice Chairperson of the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children.

IECD refers to a comprehensive care and development approach for children from 0-8 years of age. It enables families to access multiple services for their young children and themselves in a cohesive way. The integration of the services seeks to maximize the impact of different early childhood disciplines with a clear focus on the child, within the context of their family and community. IECD is a shared responsibility of parents/caregivers, families and service providers from various sectors of health, nutrition, education, child protection, and water, environmental sanitation and hygiene. International research shows that cognitive ability is markedly affected by childhood circumstances, right from the point of conception. Children who experience good nutrition, stimulation and supportive and secure environments are most likely to reach their full potential.

In Viet Nam, major gaps remain in supporting the cognitive and emotional development of girls and boys, especially for those under 8 years of age. Close to 25 per cent of children under 5 years of age suffer from stunting. Approximately 72 per cent of preschool age children (aged 3-5) and 9.4 per cent of kindergarten age children (aged under 3) do not attend any formal pre-learning programme. Every year, about 2,000 children experience violence and abuse; 170,000 children are without parental care; and many being injured, including drowning, one of the leading cause of death in children.

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The importance of investing in early childhood development has been increasingly recognized by Viet Nam, with the passage of Party Resolutions regarding the care, protection, education and health and nutrition of children; the approval of the Law on Children (2016), which is the primary piece of legislation for the protection, care and education for children including infants; and the passage of the Law on Health Insurance offering free healthcare for children under 6 years of age; the Education Law defining early childhood education as a part of the national educational system; the Labour Code stipulating six-month maternity leave for women and social protection reform towards a rights-based, inclusive and transformative system. Building on these laws and policies, the Government of Viet Nam is in the process of finalising a National ECD scheme for the period 2017-2025. The programme will be led by MOLISA, the leading agency for children’s issues, in coordination with various government ministries and agencies.

“The National Assembly of Viet Nam has a vital role in promoting the nation-wide implementation of Integrated Early Childhood Development, bringing together different line agencies that play a critical role in the life of a child. A failure to have strong commitment to invest in and implement IECD would come at a great cost with poor learning, slow physical growth, lower wages, higher unemployment, and increased dependence on public assistance that weigh down economic and social progress for everyone”, said Ms. Yoshimi Nishino, Acting Deputy Representative of UNICEF Viet Nam.

Around 100 participants present at the briefing session representing the National Assembly and provincial people’s councils, government ministries and agencies, civil social organizations, universities, research institutions, private sector, INGOs, and development organizations. Key discussion points at the briefing session will be documented and sent to concerned agencies for enhancing their awareness and further actions on IECD.

For more information, please contact:

  • Nguyen Thanh Hai, Vice Director, Department for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, Office of the National Assembly, +84-916120171, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hương, UNICEF Việt Nam, 84-4-38500225; +84-904154678; email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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