You are here

Title: Gender-responsive teaching and learning in the early years (GENTLE)

Location: Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces (central Vietnam)

Timing: 2018-2021

Budget: € 535,320

Donor: Belgium; European Union Sector: Early childhood education


Learning through play; gender-responsive pedagogy; gender-based violence; professional development of teachers (INSET) and school leaders; equity


Young children in Vietnam are exposed to gender roles and expectations. This early gender socialisation is reinforced in preschool environments (e.g. through gender-specific toys and gender-based activities). Particularly in the central provinces of Vietnam, inequalities due to early gender socialisation are among the most persisting equity issues, affecting both girls and boys.

Children start forming their gender identities at the age of 4. Addressing children’s early years’ experiences through gender-responsive play-based learning is crucial to impact their long term cognitive and social-emotional development, and to work on the prevention and elimination of gender-inequality, a precursor to gender-based violence.

The Vietnamese government, preschool teachers and leaders show commitment to promote gender-responsive play-based learning but need support to achieve their goals. Parents and communities are not always aware of gender bias and its impact on children or are hesitant to change existing gender norms.


Teachers, school leaders, parents and guardians in 15 mountainous districts in central Vietnam implement gender-responsive play-based learning in preschool and at home, contributing to the development of positive identities, relationships and self-esteem in 3-5-year-old children.



The GENTLE project transforms preschools in 15 districts in central Vietnam into environments of gender-responsive play-based learning, involving parents (and fathers in particular) to the fullest in the process.

The project centres on developing the capacity of preschool teachers and school leaders to challenge social and gender norms, create new rules, and support children in adopting new, more equitable attitudes and behaviours. They are provided with tools to effectively implement gender-responsive play-based learning at school and to advocate for this approach at home too with the parents of their young learners.

The project is built around 4 pillars:

  • Development and testing of a toolkit for gender-responsive play-based learning in preschools
  • Building capacity of preschool teachers, school leaders, DOET and BOET staff for implementing gender-responsive play-based learning
  • Development and implementation of a parent-school sensitisation model on gender-responsive play-based learning
  • Organisation of an advocacy campaign to make gender-responsive play-based learning part of the nationwide in-service curriculum for preschools

By the end of the GENTLE project:

Teachers and school leaders of 15 model preschools (one per district) in central Vietnam:

  • have become experts in gender-responsive play-based learning through school-based professional development
  • work on gender with parents
  • facilitate and support district-wide and cluster-wide professional development for the remaining schools in the selected 15 districts using the toolkit

DOET and BOET staff:

  • have strengthened capacities to offer district-wide, cluster-based and school-based teacher professional development
  • provide an enabling environment, support and provide in-service professional development for teachers and school leaders for gender-responsive play-based learning
  • facilitate the implementation of the approach in all 156 preschools in the 15 districts using the toolkit

Teachers and school leaders of all 156 preschools in the 15 selected districts:

  • have strengthened capacities to set up teacher professional development for gender-responsive play-based learning in their schools
  • implement gender-responsive learning initiatives
  • integrate gender in their model(s) of parent/guardian involvement

The action’s outreach, sensitisation and communication campaign will ensure a better understanding of gender issues at the preschool, and of how gender-responsive play-based learning can mitigate these issues. The campaign also aims to make gender-responsive play-based learning part of the nationwide in-service curriculum for preschools.

To reach its goals, VVOB Vietnam develops the capacity of its education partners. VVOB uses capacity development trajectories that give partners maximal responsibility in the execution and management of their own change processes. This is done through technical assistance provided by the VVOB Vietnam team, which includes both local and international educational and change management experts.