Learning from Hanoi: A reflection
After the registration I started to read and talk about the country and the perception I fabricated about Vietnam was of a war sticken, poor country but with rich natural beauty. My first exposure tothe country’s monry was at the airport where just 50 dollars exchange made ma millionaire instanly. We normally have the habit of comparision and judging others and this was enough to judge the country’s economy. But as we stayed in Vietnam I realised that this country is uniquely different from my country and few other countires of the world I knew about. The first thing I noticed was the respect for their language and the isolation created because of the preservation of the language. During the pre conference field visit we were escorted to a community library of a public school maintained by UNICEF. I noticed all the books displayed there were in Vietnamese language so out of curiosity I asked them whether they use only Vitenamese books or English books too. To my surprise they showed me English word flash cards instead of books. I tried to understand why they were showing this and concluded that there were no story books in English. Moreover they had fixed session and time for teaching English to the children and that too only after 3 years of age. They were focusing on reading in order to save their children from digital influence. Moreover they have the rich history of children literure which is mainly organised from word of mouth stories and fairy tales. So they are teaching history, tourism, culture and habits through the story books and even practice them at the practice corners. After the session when we were allowed to communicate with the kids and see their work I could feel the language barrier between us but then I realized the language barrier was for me not for them they were happy, culturally connected to their roots and confident about their beings. On that trip I realized that we mix up our language to the limit of dilution and I do not know or remember many common words spoken in my language. This could be something to research on about our own language and why it needs to be preserved. Another thing I noticed was that the people are soft spoken and hardworking. They give lot of importance to the hand made things for e.g. – needle work paintings, pearls, ceramics, skill and beer. When the whole world is moving towards mechanization they are preserving the hand made things. Every province has something to be proud of . I also saw that the switches and doors latches are opposite too. So despite of the war and all the odds they faced earlier today they are trying to preserve their identity and be known through the work they do. They seem too independent in all the aspect and do not like to follow the crowd especially China. There are lot of messages written in Chinese on the walls and roofs of old community halls and pagodas but they do not wish to teach Chinese to their children.
After the country context I would like to discuss about the conference which was the main reason why we were in Vietnam. As the theme for the conference was promoting sustainable environment for young children, we had quite a few presentations on the issue of air pollution but truly speaking there was repetition in the presentations. These presentations also presented few ways to prevent children from household pollution which I felt was unfair to demand from a country which is still not very independent in the fuel matters and electrical supplies. Moreover it also did not match the context of the poorer household in the rural Nepal. We also need to contextualize the details of the air pollution as it may not be similar as in our country. But these presentations were indications that we are at the alarming state and we are actually not doing anything. These presentations also instigated me to analyze our situation here in Kathmandu and find out what we can do as early childhood educators.
On the 2nd day we had presentations marking the best practices in nurturing care in different countries, I loved that presentation as it discussed various ways to involve the parents in the care. It was also great to see the efforts of Seto Guras and UNICEF in the field of parenting education especially in rural Nepal. But with that I felt pity for the urban parents who need support but are actually ignored by the government . My preschool is putting a little effort to educate the urban parents on several issues related to child on its own expense but my efforts are still not enough to bring all the parents into such talk programs and workshops,. So I could relate Ms. Catherine’s presentation and the reason why Imulat app was designed.
On this very day the discussion forum for different regions was set and we were encouraged to discuss the learning. It was the best activity as we also could participate and put up suggestion. So there I met many people and we exchanged our thoughts along with the visiting cards. I also comprehended that we all are as same in all the aspects as the issue of the “Gap between the practitioners and policy makers” was raised by Srilanka and supported by all the other South Asian countries. This discussion led us to the decisive statement about involving the child in the decision making and making the child the centre of the society.
So as the early childhood practitioner now onwards I would be more aware of preventing a nurturing and sustainable environment to the young learners.