Young Lives, an international study of childhood poverty, unveiled its latest findings after a 15-year research in Vietnam on January 19.

Data was collected on both children from infancy through 12 years of age and on eight to 19 years old, based on different categories of poverty levels, rural or urban location, and gender. Chosen study areas included Da Nang city, Lao Cai, Hung Yen, Phu Yen, and Ben Tre province.

Overall, it is evident that positive changes are taking place for children and young adults in the country. However, significant and comprehensive inequalities remain between socio-economic demographics.

In terms of education and learning, parents’ education levels have measurable impact on their children’s learning process. Young adults with high-educated parents from the middle class are more likely to pursue higher education while as many as 13 percent of children of mothers with limited education left school by age 12.

Notably, the rate of students taking extra classes rose substantially between 2006 and 2013.

Regarding nutrition and health, the rate of stunting among 12 year-old children decreased. Rates of under-nutrition also decreased for most groups, with the exception of ethnic minority groups and children whose caregivers had no formal schooling.

According to Nguyen Quang Thuan, Vice Director of the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences, the Young Lives findings will contribute to improving government policies to address childhood poverty in Vietnam.

Le Thuc Duc, Young Lives Vietnam Principal Investigator, said socio-economic development has improved the quality of life of the young generation but fuelled inequalities.

Additional policies concentrated on the living conditions of ethnic minority groups are likely to provide positive changes, he added.

The Young Lives programme has carried out scientific studies on 12,000 children living across Vietnam, Ethiopia, India and Peru through uninterrupted 15 year periods. It is led by a team from the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford in association with research and policy partners in the four study countries.-VNA