GEDSI – an opportunity for the disadvantaged


Mr. Nguyen Van Cu, Deputy Director for Education & Training - Disability Research & Capacity Development Center (DRD) said: "I used to cry because of discrimination."

Students at Nguyen Huu Canh College of Economics and Industry
Students at Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh College of Economics and Industry, Ho Chi Minh City

Prejudice from innocence

Nguyễn Văn Cử, Deputy Director of the Centre for Research and Capacity Development for People with Disabilities (HCM City) used to cry a lot because of discrimination.

As Cử recalled, when he was a child, his playtime in the park near his house normally ended in tears because of curious eyes aimed at his legs, as he suffers from polio.

According to the results of the National Survey on Disability conducted in 2019 by the General Statistics Office (Ministry of Planning and Investment) in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Vietnam, people with disabilities from age two account for more than 7% of the population, equivalent to more than 6.2 million people. Nationwide, nearly five million households have people with disabilities.

People with disabilities have to face social prejudice. Not only did he suffer from curious eyes as a child, when he grew up and got married, people often asked Nguyen Van Cu questions like: "Are you married yet?" What is your wife like? " Mr. Cu thinks questions like these express discrimination because they assume that people with disabilities can only marry people like them and have unusual children.

Though being a person with disability, Mr. Cu felt lucky when his parents said: "If you don't study, you can't do anything". Cu went to school and graduated from university with a major in economics. Now, he became Deputy Director of the Centre for Research and Capacity Development for People with Disabilities, with the mission of providing support to people with disabilities.

Opportunity of the Disadvantaged 

The National Survey on People with Disabilities in Vietnam also shows that there is inequality in living standards and social participation for people with disabilities: households with members with disabilities are often poorer, children with disabilities have lesser chance to study than their peers, at the higher level of education, the lower the chance for those children attending school. Even if they had opportunities to study, they would still have to face a lot of difficulties, when only 2% of primary and secondary schools are designed to be suitable for students with disabilities and about 1/7 of schools have trained teachers in disability education.

According to Daren Leicht - industry expert at AIS Global, Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) is one of important strategies to provide people with disabilities with access to education, particularly vocational education, and employment opportunities. 

According to a survey, adopting a GEDSI strategy increases employee engagement and satisfaction when employees and customers are fairly treated (Catalyst, 2013). Applying GEDSI also helps improve the ability to solve problems and provide solutions.

To enhance education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, some vocational schools are partnering with Aus4Skills, a programme funded by the Australian government that supports human resource development in Viet Nam during 2016-2020.

Mr. Tran Quoc Hai, Deputy Principal of Nguyen Huu Canh School of Economics and Industry (Ho Chi Minh City) mentioned that the school had taken various measures, including setting up a scholarship scheme for students with disabilities, with funding from the state budget, parents contribution, and other donors; supporting students with mobility difficulties ... The school had also built a good network of former students with disabilities who act as advisors to parents of students with disabilities and persuade them to let their children go to school.

Mr. Hai is in the opinion that businesses should offer suitable jobs for people with disabilities. There is a need for a call to businesses to share this social responsibility to provide trained people with disabilities with more employment opportunities.

Source: GD&TĐ


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