The US Agency for International Development (USAID) on June 16handed over keys to 25 refurbished pre-schools to the People's Committee of the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum.

The formerly dilapidated schools were equipped with age-appropriate furnishings and materials as well as sanitary bathrooms and kitchens.

Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Education and Training Pham Thi Trinh said the refurbished schools would help the province deal with infrastructure shortages for early childhood education and subsequently reach its goal for universal early childhood education by 2015.

Reconstruction of the pre-schools was part of the three-year 1.3 million USD Improving Education in the Central Highlands which was implemented by the East Meets West Foundation.

Director of USAID in Vietnam Francis Donovan said the handover marked the tremendous success of the long-term commitment between the governments of Vietnam and the US and their support for the education and social development of Kon Tum Province .

One significant focus of the programme was to engage civil organisations, notably the Women's Union and the Study Promotion Association, which already had a strong presence and a network of volunteers throughout the province to prepare young children and their families for entry into primary schools.

Trieu Thi Linh, head of the provincial Women's Union's unit to support economic development for women, said more than 900 women in 25 communes had been equipped with early childhood care and development skills under the project./.