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Merit Development Program

Tiếng Việt
 
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385,230

Funded (USD)

2,796

scholarships

Follow the process with us

Experience the Merit cycle with us, from VietHope volunteers visiting the student’s families to observe and interview family members about the student’s academic performance, learning environment and financial hardships, to meeting recipients themselves, to seeing the award ceremonies.

PROBLEM

In Vietnam, the percentage of children who attended but subsequently dropped out of school increases dramatically with student age. According to the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children: Viet Nam Country Study report released in 2016 by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), 14.1% of the 14-year-old children (those in the last grade of lower secondary school - Grade 9) dropped out of school in 2014. The dropout figure increases to 37.39% by the age of 17 during the last year of upper secondary school (Grade 12).

Why does this dropout rate increase? In previous study Survey Assessment of Vietnamese Youth in 2015, also conducted by UNFPA, the top 3 reasons for not attending school are they have to work to support their families, families ‘can’t afford school fees’ or schooling expenses; and they "don't want to go to school". These education-related expenses may include textbooks, stationery, clothing, contributions for school infrastructure and transport. These three account for 54% of the total young people surveyed. The other reasons include "cannot pass the exams", "have terrible study perfomance", "My family doesn't want me to go to school", health reasons, marriage and "school is too far away". 

The difficulties in paying education-related costs and having to work to help families fall far more heavily on those living in poverty. This explains to a certain extent why young people from poor areas, as well as those from ethnic minorities, make up a disproportionate percentage of the population not attending school.

Main reasons for 16-24 teenagers to drop out of schools
Percent (%)
I have to work to support my family
19.1
I can't afford school fees
17.6
I don't want to study
17.4
I can't pass the exams
15.4
I have terrible study performance
8.4
My family doesn't want me to go to school
3.3
I have health reasons
2.7
I get married
2.0
My school is too far away
1.8
Main reasons for 16-24 teenagers to drop out of schools
Percent (%)
I have to work to support my family
19.1
I can't afford school fees
17.6
I don't want to study
17.4
I can't pass the exams
15.4
I have terrible study performance
8.4
My family doesn't want me to go to school
3.3
I have health reasons
2.7
I get married
2.0
My school is too far away
1.8
Total
87.7

Our approach

The goal of Merit Development Program (Merit or MDP) is to help students stay in school and continue their education rather than having to begin working or farming early.

The program provides $150 USD scholarships to students once each school year. This amount is sufficient to cover expenses such as school fees, books, uniforms and transportation. MDP provides not only financial support but also life values and essential skills that assist their study, their future career path and help them overcome their disadvantages. The scholarships are renewable up to 12th grade, as long as the recipient continues to perform well in school and experience financial hardship. 

Meet MDP Scholars

Scroll through the slideshow below to meet a few of our Merit scholars.

VietHope selects recipients based jointly on financial need and academic performance. VietHope partners with local schools, who naturally are interested in having students continue their studies.  After students learn about the program through their schools and apply, VietHope volunteers review the applications, including visiting the student’s home whenever possible. VietHope re-assesses scholarship renewals each year, again with an application and a family visit.

MDP Training Courses

Some milestones

From

2010

Since 2010, the GRACE Education Fund (formerly through the New Moon Foundation) and VietHope have joined in a partnership to provide 100 Merit scholarships to financially disadvantaged Vietnamese youths in various provinces in Vietnam and engaged them in contemplation of the 5 GRACE values (Gratitude, Respect, Accountability, Courage, Engagement).

From

2011

In 2011, 100 scholarship recipients of Can Thanh Secondary School in Can Gio, Saigon took part in the GRACE workshop which was held within the VietHope’s Youth Development Program 2012.

2012-2015

Since then, VietHope and GRACE Education Fund have developed and hosted series of 6 enrichment activities during their semesters and summer vacation to help students reflect how they can apply GRACE values to their daily lives with a lively, friendly and effective approach.

2016

To Now

VietHope began organizing career orientation sessions based on self-positioning and self-orientation for 187 students from G9-G12 in Can Gio, Saigon. The session got positive feedback, especially from G12 students who are now freshmen of universities and colleges.

Fruits of the training courses

From 2010-2014, the GRACE Education Fund have partnered with VietHope to help over 293 financially disadvantaged Vietnamese students with 400 scholarships of almost USD 56,000. About 100 students have been a part of the VietHope-GRACE program and we have hosted 6 sessions in 2013 and 2014 to test the effectiveness of distinct strategies for long-term inculcation and build a community around GRACE values for over 130 students in grades 6-9.
 
From 2010 to the present, we are happy to have successfully built a community of more than 672 students who are actively engaging themselves into applying life values and necessary soft skills to equip themselves for whatever career path they choose.

Fruits of the training courses

From 2010-2014, the GRACE Education Fund (formerly through the New Moon Foundation), have partnered with VietHope to help over 293 financially disadvantaged Vietnamese students with 400 scholarships of almost $56,000. About 100 students have been a part of the VH-GRACE program and we have hosted 6 sessions in 2013 and 2014 to test the effectiveness of distinct strategies for long-term inculcation and build community around GRACE values for over 130 students in grades 6-9 including Gratitude, Respect, Accountability, Courage, and Engagement.
 
From 2010 to the present, we are happy to have successfully built a community of more than 672 students who are actively engaging themselves into applying life values and necessary soft skills to equip themselves for whatever career path they choose.
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Big Painting:
GRACE session 2 on 7 April 2014 taken with Ms Thuy’s family, our sponsors from Hawaii

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VietHope Cards:
GRACE session 2 on 29 March 2015 showing students’ gratitude to VietHope

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Career Coaching:
MDP training session in Can Gio, Saigon in February 2017 with professional coaches

 

Our outcomes

Over the past 17 years (2002-2019), VietHope has supported nearly 2,800 Merit students. This number includes students who have received the Merit Scholarship award for more than one year (the most awarded students were sponsored for as long as 7 years).

Our award recipients have come from many rural areas throughout Vietnam:

  • Southern Vietnam: Saigon outskirts, Ca Mau, Dong Thap, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Tien Giang, Dong Nai
  • Central Vietnam: Khanh Hoa, Hue, Quang Binh, and Ha Tinh.
  • Northern Vietnam: Nam Dinh, Thai Binh, Ha Nam, Phu Tho, and Thai Nguyen.

As a result of our support, Merit students have completed schooling through 12th grade at a higher rate, and have entered into top universities where they continue to keep in touch with VietHope staff. Some universities that our students have been admitted to are the following:

  • Can Tho University
  • Ha Noi Polytechnic University
  • Dong Thap General Education College
  • Hue College of Medicine
  • Ha Noi Foreign Trade University
  • Foreign Trade University - HCMC campus
  • VNU-HCMC University of Information Technology
  • Posts and Telecommunication Institute of Technology - HCMC Campus

Since 2017, 39 Merit students who went to universities and colleges have been accepted to USP scholarship as an effort of program integration and youth development continuity.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY

Join us in finding new approaches to deliver these values to our students.

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