The Ministry of Education and Training on Feb. 25 launched a project to promote education for students from nine ethnic minority groups with low populations in the 2010-15 period.

The project will support pupils and students from the O Du, Pu Peo, Si La, Ro Mam, Cong, B'rau, Bo Y, Mang and Co Lao groups from the northern provinces of Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, the central province of Nghe An and the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, each has a population of 300-2,000.

A ministry report showed that the nine groups live in poor disadvantaged areas, where literacy levels are between just 30-40 percent and only 15 percent of the people can speak the national language. Most children from the groups drop out of school after second or third grade and few make it to high school or higher education.

The project, approved by the Prime Minister, has a funding of 341 billion VND (17 million USD).

The project will focus on upgrading infrastructure and equipping schools with more teaching materials.

It will also pay for training to give teachers a better understanding of the ethnic minority groups they teach.

All the students will be encouraged to follow further education and high school graduates wishing to attend colleges, universities or vocational schools will be given priority depending on their abilities and desires./.