Mekong Delta boosts sustainable development

Saturday, 2021-05-15 16:30:58
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Students at Ly Tu Trong High School for the Gifted in Can Tho City conducting research in the laboratory on making biological products from green Siamese banana peels to preserve fruit and vegetables . (Photo: NDO)
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NDO – Despite many difficulties, localities in the Mekong Delta have devoted considerable resources to education and science and technology, thus contributing to promote regional socio-economic development.

However, investment in this field still faces difficulties and limitations that requires more attention to make education, science and technology become the driving force for sustainable development in the Mekong Delta.

As a purely agricultural province still facing many difficulties, Hau Giang has spent a considerable amount of its budget on education, science and technology. From 2004, the total investment budget for construction of schools and classrooms in the province has reached about VND3.6 trillion, of which local people and businesses contributing more than VND338 billion. Thanks to efforts to develop the network of schools and classrooms, up to now, all temporary classrooms have been eliminated, while the proportion of solid and semi-permanent classrooms has reached 94.6%. 80% of the 331 schools at all levels in the province meet national standards, with educational equipment suitable for the requirements of teaching and learning innovation. Since then, the quality of local education and people's intellectual level have been improved. In the 2019-2020 academic year, the rate of students passing the national high school exams in Hau Giang reached more than 98%.

At the same time, the development and innovation of science and technology in Hau Giang is always receiving strong attention through the application of an ordering mechanism to perform science and technology tasks, while the deployed projects have always been applied in reality. Over the past 10 years, the province has transferred and applied 133 research projects, while the results of previous projects have also been continued to be applied effectively. Among the topics and projects implemented, 16% of them are in the field of agriculture, 22% in engineering and technology, 8% in the field of medicine and pharmacy, and 24% in the social and humanities fields.

In Soc Trang, investment in education is given special attention in places with large populations of Khmer people. Ly Thi Y, Principal of Tham Don Kindergarten in Tac Giong Hamlet, Tham Don Commune, My Xuyen District, happily said: "More than 80% of the commune’s population are Khmer ethnic people. The State has invested in our preschool that meets national standards, so every year the admission rate always achieves the set plan. The whole school has 13 kindergarten classes, with a total of 415 children. The State investment in the kindergarten not only helps parents to be assured in their production, but also helps children have suitable conditions to follow onto the next level of education. Presently, Soc Trang has an increasingly complete network of schools and classes, with hundreds of billions of VND being poured into education in ethnic minority communities and remote areas to build schools and classes and improve the qualifications of teachers in such disadvantaged areas. Soc Trang currently has more than 70% of schools reaching national standards, contributing to improving the quality of local education.

Regarding science and technology, over the past five years, Soc Trang has implemented 57 topics and projects, with a total budget of more than VND50 billion. In which, there are 41 provincial research projects and topics on key products that have been applied to production and life, with the notable ones including the application of scientific and technological advances to select aromatic, high yielding rice varieties resistant to brown planthoppers, as well as hybridisation and selection of fragrant rice varieties serving aromatic rice growing regions across the province, such as ST rice varieties with high productivity and quality and good commercial ability. There are varieties that have made a special mark, such as ST24 and ST25.

With its position and role at the centre of the Mekong Delta, Can Tho City has a strong development in education, science and technology. In the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years alone, Can Tho invested more than VND1.3 trillion in building educational facilities and purchasing equipment for teaching and learning. 100% of schools are invested in solid construction, especially in suburban districts, associated with new rural construction, contributing to improving the quality of education. So far, Can Tho has 325 out of 455 schools meeting national standards, accounting for more than 70%. The system of colleges, universities, research institutes and private schools across all levels located in the city is the largest in the region, attracting a lot of investment in this field.

Can Tho invested over VND32 billion in science and technology development in 2020 alone, including supporting 15 enterprises in applying science and technology in the fields of mechanics, food, wood processing and agriculture with a budget of more than VND12 billion, along with supporting six businesses in the Vietnam - Korea Industrial Technology Incubator to develop their start-up projects. To date, there are three enterprises that have completed incubation and brought their products to the market, including Tin Duc Mechanical Engineering Company Limited (with typical product as a mud pump combined with foreign body cutting), Tragovy Company Ltd., (spring roll making machine) and A&B Import-Export Co., Ltd. (seasoning powder made from oyster mushrooms).

However, the investment in education, science and technology in the Mekong Delta is still limited because the local budget investment does not cover 20% of the prescribed, while supporting mechanisms and policies are not attractive enough to lure enterprises to invest in science and technology development. There is also a lack of coordination and linkage between localities in the region and research institutes and universities to promote research and practical application.

In order to make education, science and technology contribute more to local socio-economic development, Mekong Delta localities have proposed a variety of solutions. Chairman of Hau Giang Provincial People's Committee Dong Van Thanh said that Hau Giang will actively develop mechanisms and policies to attract maximum resources in the coming time, especially non-budget resources for investment in science & technology and innovation, promoting applied research activities, science and technology transfer, and synchronously promoting production in line with the value chain of key products. At the same time, the province also encourages the development of science and technology enterprises, supporting start-ups and developing the science and technology market. For education, priority should be given to development investment in remote, isolated and ethnic minority areas, along with building models of private kindergartens in residential and industrial clusters and further strengthening the socialisation of education.

Soc Trang Province has developed a plan to provide financial and land support to individuals and businesses investing in this important field, especially science and technology for agricultural production to adapt to climate change in order to improving the lives of local people in rural areas, in addition to focusing on developing all-grade education in remote areas and Khmer ethnic communities to nurture human resources to meet the requirements of applying science and technology to production and life.

Can Tho is also promoting the development of a science and technology market, with the building of a trading floor in the field and the planning of a hi-tech park in association with the construction of an innovative start-up centre in the Mekong Delta.

THANH TAN - DUNG PHONG