Moving forward in education’s digital transformation

September 18, 2021 | 10:00
Millions of students across Vietnam began the new school year on September 5. In today’s special circumstances, the application of technology becomes more important than ever to enable the sector to meet its targets. Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communications, delves into how important digital transformation is for the education of the country’s future talents.
Moving forward in education’s digital transformation
Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communications

To enable digital transformation in education, it first needs broadband digital infrastructure for households. At present, there are still 2,000 points nationwide that mobile waves cannot reach. The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has decided that by the end of this year these points will have access.

By the end of this year, cities and provinces also target that each local household has at least one smartphone, especially those in remote areas. By 2023, smartphones will cover 100 per cent of local people and before 2025, each household will have super broadband fibre-optic internet.

The Strategy on National Digital Infrastructure that the prime minister will issue this year sets the target of placing Vietnam in the world’s top 30 before 2025. This is a great effort by the MIC for national development, which includes the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET).

When talking about digital transformation, the prime minister has directed relevant agencies to accelerate e-payments for the education and training sector. Currently, e-payment at schools remains low at less than 10 per cent. The two biggest barriers to this are a lack of consistency in the application of standards and collection of e-payment fees.

The MIC has worked with the banking sector on the standards of payment connection, and proposed the MoET to have documents asking training establishments to apply the standards in their school fee collection management software. The banking sector also agreed not to collect e-payment fees for schools. Now is the time for the minister of education and training to request that e-payment needs to account for at least 60 per cent of payments at every education establishment by 2022.

The most important factor in digital transformation is the determination of leaders. They decide 80 per cent of the success in this path because digital transformation is related to the change in operation and technology only helps us implement the change. For instance, do we accept online exams? Will we welcome digital universities?

Moving forward in education’s digital transformation
Illustration photo, source: freepik

We have many good digital technology businesses. Digital technology has two important characteristics. Firstly, they promote excellence and smart digital technology. We should use it and then perfect it. Secondly, if we want to have cheap prices, we should share. The two can be dealt with through this crucial determination. The natural reflex of people is to hesitate to use new things or to change. If 44,000 schools buy 44,000 different types of software, it will be very costly.

Digital development is a suitable solution for quick and sustainable development in the current situation because it costs less in resources. Technologies of Industry 4.0 mainly focus on digital development and innovations also mainly concentrate on digital technologies. Digital development is considered the key development trend in the first half of the 21st century and any country or sector wanting to move ahead has to take this opportunity.

The key for the sector’s digital transformation is sharing digital platforms. The sector has worked out a number of innovation policies but still lacks an effective implementation tool. The digital revolution has been bringing to the sector a revolutionary tool – national sharing platforms. Not only enabling the sector to increase efficiency of implementation, it prompts the sector to have stronger and more thorough reforms.

Each problem will be solved by a digital platform. In this way, schools and especially universities are more likely to become a technology business rather than a traditional school. Schools will have to develop technology and digital content for teaching. However, schools can only make this happen by cooperating with technology companies to bring knowledge and teaching methods to digital platforms.

If having to choose one to make a breakthrough in the next five years, the education and training sector should consider choosing digital transformation, considering it a long-term strategic solution, but also a situational solution during the pandemic. Digital technology and digital transformation are able to help solve protracted problems facing the sector, and the MIC is willing to work alongside the MoET in this digital journey.

By Nguyen Manh Hung

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