As signatory to the United Nations (UN) Global Compact and a dedicated company committed to helping achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ON Semiconductor continuously looks for new opportunities to address pressing social and environmental issues. With numerous sites across an array of countries, our status as a global company propels us to harness these opportunities by collaborating with local communities. A grant awarded by our Global Giving Program in 2019 to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Foundation’s Bending Bamboo program in Vietnam helped support the community and set them on a path towards sustainable development.
Vietnam is one of the top five countries predicted to be most affected by climate change due to its extensive coastlines, where much of its population resides. Knowing this, the Vietnamese government developed a “National Action Plan for the Implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda” to work on mobilizing and educating the country in order to mitigate and adapt to environmental changes. The aim is to have embedded SDG knowledge and skills across school curricula by 2030, in addition to another national goal of Vietnamese-English bilingualism by 2025. Education of future generations is key to supporting ecological resilience, in addition to connecting citizens to global discourse related to climate, migration, rural-urban equity, and health through English language acquisition and problem-solving skills.
The Bending Bamboo program works directly with the community by providing professional development opportunities for teachers in collaboration with Can Tho University, a leading university in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. The ON Semiconductor grant assisted with tuition costs for eleven Master of Arts (MA) candidates who are pursuing a degree in Applied Community Development from Future Generations University, a program that equips teachers to be change agents who embed SDG knowledge and skills in bilingual curricula. An important goal of the program is to secure Ministry of Education & Training (MOET) approval to introduce state of the art Bending Bamboo curriculum for public school students in grades 3-12. Applied sustainability skills are also fostered through experiential learning and virtual classroom connections between urban and rural schools in the Delta.
Graduate student Anh Vi expressed how the program influenced her professional development:
“The biggest support I received from Bending Bamboo is the ability to recognize my strength in different situations. I am more confident with my language skills and teaching methods. I have more courage at work to engage people of other cultures, examine sustainability problems, and render good lessons and modeling for my students.”
Well-trained professional educators equipped with the latest teaching skills and knowledge help their students learn vital subjects that benefit not only their own development but also that of their surrounding community. Hundreds of Vietnamese high school teachers in the region attended four 60-hour in-country workshops and several 15-week online Zoom forums hosted by the eleven MA candidates and Future Generations University faculty. This cascading effect hopes to reach many more teachers, their students, and their families across rural and urban populations to encourage sustainable development and language skills furthering Vietnam’s collaboration with Southeast Asia and the world.
As Dan Wessner, Professor at Future Generations University and Director of the Bending Bamboo program, stated:
“Sustainable development needs dedicated motivation from all.”
Additionally, John Nelson, President of IEEE Smart Village and Life IEEE Fellow, stated:
“IEEE Smart Village supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and is proud to be a supporter of the Bending Bamboo program in Vietnam.”
ON Semiconductor was grateful to assist IEEE Foundation with the Bending Bamboo program’s mission to inspire and prepare educators to act as change agents for sustainable development and bilingualism in Vietnam. Through these transformative learning opportunities, citizens are better prepared to help solve and adapt to global challenges. To quote Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”