Vietnam has resolved to make greater efforts to further improve the spiritual and material life of ethnic minority people.

The determination was renewed at a conference to review five years of implementation of the seventh Party Central Committee resolution on ethnic affairs in Hanoi on July 29.

At the event, Truong Tan Sang, a Politburo member and Standing Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC), affirmed “the Party always defines ethnic issues and affairs as ‘holding an important strategic position’ among other efforts”.

To that end, future efforts in the area will target the upgrade of essential infrastructure for communes facing extreme difficulties, particularly for the 61 poorest communes in the country, the participants agreed.

Another goal will be providing vocational training and job placement services and restoring and developing traditional handicrafts to generate more jobs and improve the living standards of ethnic people.

Special attention will be placed on the development of education, training, healthcare, culture, and society in underdeveloped, mountainous areas and localities inhabited by ethnic minorities.

Those targets will be coupled with the further strengthening of a political system and security force to ensure social order and safety in ethnic minority-inhabited areas.

Sang said that since the resolution was issued, authorities from the grassroots to central level have adopted a variety of measures to overcome difficulties in addressing problems in ethnic-minority communities residing in mountainous and border regions and on islands.

According to a report presented by Ha Thi Khiet, Secretary of the CPVCC and Head of the CPVCC’s Mass Mobilisation Commission, there were improvements in the infrastructure of mountainous and ethnic minority-inhabited areas to initially meet the requirements for production and daily activities of the local people.

So far, all communes enduring extreme difficulties in those areas now have kindergartens, primary schools and semi-boarding schools to enable up to 90-95 percent of school-aged children to attend classes.

Universal primary education has been achieved in 71 percent of underdeveloped communes while universal junior high school education has reportedly been achieved in 80 percent of them.

Khiet’s report also noted significant improvements in the cultural life of ethnic minorities, citing that cultural and community houses were built in almost all mountainous and ethnic minority-inhabited areas.

Nearly 90 percent of underdeveloped communes have been linked with the national communication network by telephone lines, the report said, also referring to a remarkable increase in the number of ethnic minority officials in administrations at all levels.

While progress has been recognised, the rate of poor households in underdeveloped communes remains high in comparison with the country’s average level, Sang said.

He also pointed to the reality that infrastructure in those areas, though improved, remains weak. Also, several counterproductive ethnic minority customs have been revived and are starting to spread, and party organisations in some areas where a large number of ethnic minority groups are living have failed to perform well.

The Party official asked the participants to propose amendments and supplements to existing policies and work on new legislation to support efforts to better the living conditions of ethnic minorities and boost socio-economic development in mountainous and ethnic minority-inhabited areas./.