Central Highlands provinces will upgrade educational facilities to improve school attendance rates, especially for ethnic minorities, the Ministry of Education and Training said March 2.

The Ministry will invest in more nurseries and kindergartens, particularly in ethnic minorities villages to cater for 12 percent of under three-year-olds and 85 percent of three to five-year-olds respectively by 2015.

Semi-boarding schools in rural areas will be built with the target of 99 percent of children aged six, entering first grade and 55 percent enrollments at high schools, it was disclosed at conference in HCM City March 2 to review education in the Central Highlands.

The objectives were to increase the rate of ethnic minorities at schools from nursery to university.

All districs and communes in the Central Highlands provinces will have enough continuing education centres and 90 wards and towns have community learning centres to achieve 96 percent literacy rates for people aged 15 and more.

Each province in the Central Highlands will have at least one vocational college and each district have a vocational centre to increase the rate of trained-workers to 35 percent by 2015.

Ethnic minority children will have better access to Vietnamese language learning.

Research for practical policy making is a priority to develop Central Highlands education and attract teachers to those provinces, the conference heard.

Deputy Minister of Education Tran Quang Quy said education and vocational training in the Central Highland provinces had improved in the last five years.

The drop-out rate decreased from 1.25 percent in the 2007-08 academic year to 0.7 percent in the 2009-10 school year, he said adding it was the biggest dropout reduction in the country. In the last five years, the ministry built learning centres in 70 districts and worked with local authorities to open 600 more community learning centres to prevent illiteracy, Quy said.

Tran Duy Tao, head of the School Infrastructure and Equipment Department, said more than 3,500 new classrooms and 1,936 rooms for teachers in the region were built between 2008 and 2010 and 267 billion VND (12.8 million USD) was spent on teaching equipment.

One hundred communes were still in need of kindergartens and 4,700 teachers were needed at all levels, he added. /.