A delegation from the Engineering Unit Rotation 2 of Vietnam and the Ministry of Education and Construction of Abyei recently conducted a survey of schools in Abyei. The purpose of the survey is to develop support measures for local authorities and students, as reported by the People’s Army Newspaper.
Leading the delegation were Senior Colonel Nguyen Viet Hung, chief of the Engineering Unit Rotation 2 and commanding officer of Vietnam’s peacekeeping force at the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), and Education and Construction Minister Nyinkwany Aguer Bol.
|Servicewomen of the Engineering Company Rotation 2 and children in Abyei. Source: PANO|
The survey revealed that there are approximately 10 schools of various sizes in Abyei. One school, located 20km from the center of Abyei, has nearly 200 students and faces difficult driving conditions. The largest school has nearly 3,000 students from seven local schools.
However, the number of teachers is relatively small, with most of them being volunteer teachers from other African countries. The qualifications of local teachers vary and are not consistently high.
The survey also identified common problems in Abyei schools, including poor facilities, insufficient classrooms, canteens, and toilets. Some schools have a large number of students and a small number of classrooms, resulting in overcrowded classrooms with 100 to 150 students per room.
|The classroom is overloaded due to the large number of students. Source: PANO|
Following the survey, the delegation held a working session with the Ministry of Education and Construction to discuss plans for infrastructure and material improvements in schools.
Senior Captain Phung The Khanh, civilian-military coordination (CIMIC) officer of the Engineering Unit Rotation 2, emphasized that providing assistance to the local community is a regular and long-term task for Vietnam’s Engineering Unit. They will focus on supporting the education sector in the Abyei area.
As part of the survey, Vietnamese peacekeepers visited a kindergarten located in an Abyei church, which cares for more than 200 orphans. The peacekeepers screened cartoons for the children and provided them with candies and biscuits.
|Children enjoy watching cartoons. Source: PANO|
Catherine, the principal of the kindergarten, expressed gratitude for the support provided by Vietnamese peacekeepers. The children had not had the opportunity to watch TV in a long time, and the cartoon screening was a memorable experience for them. Afterward, an extracurricular session was planned to allow the children to draw what impressed them from the cartoon projection.
Vietnam’s Engineering Unit Rotation 2, comprising 203 officers including 19 females, was established in November 2022 under the decision of the Ministry of Defense. The unit recently departed for the UNISFA peacekeeping mission, taking with them approximately 300 tonnes of supplies to serve their duties and daily needs for one year.
In 2022, Engineering Unit Rotation 1 was deployed to the UN mission in Abyei, making it the first time Vietnam had sent an engineering team to a UN peacekeeping mission. The unit had the largest staff among the Vietnamese units deployed to UN peacekeeping missions, and all of their supplies, about 2,000 tonnes, were transported by sea.