VIETNAM: Don Bosco Vocational School Has Trained More Than 3,000 Students for Future Employment
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries operate the Tan Tien Don Bosco Vocational School 155 miles north of Ho Chi Min City, the capital city of Vietnam. Just 25 years ago, Salesian missionaries purchased a five-hectare plot of land and built the school. In 2002, the first students graduated from the program, and today, the school has had 3,000 students successfully complete the program.
A high school was added to the grounds in 2008. The secondary education program educates 400 boys and girls in grades 10-12 and prepares them to advance to one of five different course programs in the vocational school. It also provides students an opportunity to engage with their peers in a structured school setting while having access to adults who can help them make a plan for their life.
Tan Tien Don Bosco Vocational School also operates two boarding houses that today accommodate 215 boys and 58 girls. These students are coming from difficult life situations. Many have dropped out of school previously and consider the Don Bosco Vocational School as their last chance. In addition to the technical and academic preparation, students have an opportunity to learn music and engage in exercise and sports. They also have access to volunteer activities that help them give back to their communities and gain hands-on experience.
The vocational school is one of the four technical schools operated by Salesian missionaries in Vietnam, while another three vocational schools are in the pipeline with the support of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities.
“Salesian schools, services and programs throughout Vietnam are helping to break the cycle of poverty while giving many young people hope for a more positive and productive future,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian vocational and technical schools equip students with the skills they need to compete in the local labor market by offering courses that lead to employment in construction, hotel management, electrical and mechanical engineering, computer science and other fields.”
According to the World Bank, close to 14 percent of Vietnam’s population lives in conditions of poverty. The country has seen a drastic reduction of poverty over the last 20 years when the poverty rate was close to 60 percent. Vietnam has also made remarkable progress in education. Primary and secondary enrollments for those in poverty have reached more than 90 percent and 70 percent respectively. Rising levels of education and diversification into off-farm activities, such as working in construction, factories or domestic housework, have also contributed to reducing poverty in the country.
While nearly 30 million Vietnamese have been lifted out of poverty in the past 20 years, challenges remain. According to the World Bank, although Vietnam’s 53 ethnic minority groups make up less than 15 percent of the population, they accounted for nearly 50 percent of the poor in 2010. Most minorities continue to reside in more isolated and less productive regions of Vietnam. Rapid economic transformation and growth have contributed to rising inequality in income and opportunities. Some of the poor, especially those living in rural areas or small cities, have limited access to high quality education, health services and long-term well-paying jobs.
World Bank – Vietnam