A project to provide pre-school education for deaf Vietnamese children has proven effective, helping hundreds of deaf children use sign language and become better prepared for school and life, heard a workshop in Hanoi on August 10.

The 2011-2015 project is funded by the Japanese Social Development Fund via the World Bank (WB). It has been implemented by the World Concern Development Organisation in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Training in Hanoi, Thai Nguyen, Quang Binh and Ho Chi Minh City.

Addressing the workshop, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thi Nghia stressed that this is the first project in Vietnam that has targeted preschool-aged deaf children.

She underlined the significance of the project, saying that its success contributes significantly to the national strategy for education development from 2011-2020.

Victoria Kwakwa, WB Country Director for Vietnam, said interventions from the project are expected to improve the communication capacity of deaf children and enable them to access primary education programmes by using sign language as a primary method of communication.

The project also assists deaf children to communicate in order to develop their cognitive abilities and social awareness, she added.

According to Kwakwa, the combined family-school method designed for the project will encourage families’ involvement in their children’s study process. Family members are trained to use sign language, helping them to communicate directly with their children, and deaf adults are being trained as educators and mentors.

Thanks to project, as many as 255 deaf children below six had access to the training and 50 hearing-impaired adults were trained as teachers. Nearly 200 teachers joined training courses to serve the project.

Vietnam has more than 1 million hearing-impaired people, including over 400,000 school-aged children.-VNA