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Teachers question city's proposal to use e-books

Update: July, 21/2014 - 08:43
A primary student reads an e-book during English class. A new proposal would see students from first to third grade in HCM City use e-books instead of printed books this upcoming school year. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Tu

HCM CITY (VNS) — E-books would replace printed textbooks in the first to third grades in HCM City for the upcoming schools year under a new proposal, the vice chairman of the city People's Committee Hua Ngoc Thuan has said.

Thuan said the e-books would serve multiple purposes, replacing heavy backpacks, and improving IT application part of the current education reform efforts.

However, many teachers have questioned whether the schools or parents can afford such a plan.

Feedback from teachers and parents will be collected by the Department of Education and Training, which is administering the pilot project. It will then submit a report to the city's Party Committee and the ministry.

At a recent meeting of the People's Committee in HCM City, teachers discussed the proposal.

Nguyen Thi Tot of the education office in Thu Duc District expressed concern about the projects' feasibility, saying that more teachers would be needed to give instruction to students on how to use the tablets. She said there was already a teacher shortage.

Families in poorer districts would not be able to pay for the tablets, and the districts do not have enough money to buy tablets for the e-books.

Nguyen Ngoc Hanh, vice principal of Nguyen Binh Khiem Primary School, also said that poor students would be at disadvantage, noting that the school does not have the funds to buy the tablets.

Pham Van Bang of the southern-based representative office of the Central Committee for Publicity and Education said the city should carefully consider the pilot project, which would cost about VND4.4 trillion (US$209 million) to implement.

Nguyen Van Lam, deputy head of the city's budget, asked that the Department of Education and Training survey parents to find out how many of them were willing to contribute a partial payment for the tablets.

Moreover, research on the benefits of such tablets with students of a very young age should be studied.

Le Thai Hy, head of the Department of Information and Communication, said that the content of e-books should be visually appealing and stimulate children's creativity.

He said the department could partner with local electronics companies to provide cheap tablets.

Domestic software companies should also be encouraged to take part in the project, he added. —VNS

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