Should Vietnamese Schools Teach Students Ethnic Languages?

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Updated 6:11 pm

Language, a method of human communication, play an optimal role in society as the key to connect people together. However, many languages are becoming extinct due to the dominance of other mainstream languages. This trend poses a threat to humankind because it is a sign of lost cultural diversity.

Having “one of the most complex ethnolinguistic patterns“, Vietnam could be vulnerable to this problem if practical measures were not implemented. It is said that lessons regarding Ethnic Languages should be made compulsory in Vietnamese’s educational system.

Should this suggestion be brought about? Let’s discuss this together here.


Vietnam is home to 54 ethnic groups: each has its own languages which contribute to the diverse cultural heritage that the people take pride in. Following the global trend, some languages in Vietnam are at risk of disappearing because later generations tend to adopt the major Vietnamese language instead.

The Vietnamese majority accounts for nearly 86 percent of spoken languages and served as the common language that citizens utilize daily. While around 90 million speak the Vietnamese national language, merely 40 people now are speaking Arem, a nearly extinct language in Vietnam and Laos.

There is not enough statistic about how many languages are endangered in Vietnam specifically, but in a worldwide scale, more than 3,000 languages are in danger today. I personally think this number would increase gradually as users of minor languages speak in the dominant one more often than an unknown language.

Not only does the disappearance of ethnic languages result in a loss of cultures, but it also causes some undiscovered knowledge to be buried. Ethnic languages were created at times dated back to centuries ago and yet to be developed; therefore, they were deeply attached to the community that used them.


Change in language often reflects the changing value of a culture

Ravi Zacharias

In my perspective, education should be the first area that adopts and accentuate Ethnic Languages as a valuable quality of Vietnam. In fact, education in an ethnic language is an effective means to preserve and promote Ethnic languages.

By implementing information about these languages into the main curriculum, students throughout the country can learn more about minority groups, thus understanding the situation of diversity loss. I am no expert, but I think teaching these to students at an early age would be better because it is the best time for youngsters to learn different languages.

Although it is difficult to teach all the alphabetical and grammar systems of Ethnic Languages, I think the curriculum can include knowledge about the traditions and Ethnic minorities. I would recommend students to learn Ethnic Languages in their oral forms first so that they can communicate with different people and spread the popularity of those languages as well.

If students at public schools know more about Ethnic languages, their Ethnic classmates might feel less left out in their classes too. This is beneficial to bridge youngsters of different backgrounds together and facilitate a diverse educational environment.

At Project Sprouts, we realize that we can not solve all the problems. But we can seek to make a difference in the lives of needy children by giving them school supplies and encouraging them to continue their education; we can give them winter coats, boots, and blankets to help them stay warm during the cold winter months.

Project Sprouts would love to have you be a part of our community and help us to help worthy children in North Vietnam. 

You can find out more about Project Sprouts by clicking here or go to our give now page to donate by clicking here. As we are a grassroots organization, all funds go to help those in need.

3 Reasons Why Vietnamese Ethnic Minority Are Poor

However, the unsolvable issue with poverty in Vietnam is that more than 70% of the impoverished population comes from Ethnic minorities (measured using Vietnam’s poverty line). Despite several solutions and policies, Ethnic poverty is strongly persistent in Vietnam: poor children have to leave school, adults struggle to be employed.

You can read more by reading 3 Reasons Why Vietnamese Ethnic Minority Are Poor by clicking here

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In 2018, there are about 260 million children who cannot go to school, this accounts for nearly one-fifth of the global population. That was 2 years before COVID-19 emerged. Now, the situation is dramatically different: it continues to exacerbate after new waves of COVID-19 have delayed schools’ opening. Many more students are out of school; meanwhile, some stopped learning because they lack digital devices to study online.

So, What is really happening?

You can learn more by reading How School Closures Affect Students?. by clicking here

James Johnstone
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