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Schools lack funds for IT

Update: August, 18/2014 - 08:50
With so many students trying to register at the same time, the internet connection is often too slow..— Photo

HCM CITY (VNS) — A student at HCM City University of Agriculture and Forestry recently spent seven hours trying to register for a course on the school's website. He finally gave up, and later discovered that the class had closed because it was full.

With so many students trying to register at the same time, the internet connection is often too slow.

Students at other universities face the same problem. Each year, the HCM City University of Science receives many complaints from students about this issue, according to Vu Hai Quan, the vice rector.

Quan spoke at a workshop on Smart.Edu held last week in HCM City.

He said the school did not have enough money to upgrade internet infrastructure, which had hindered its IT applications used for administrative purposes.

Duong Anh Duc, rector at the Information Technology University, said he wanted to use the latest software but "the State's budget allocated to the university's IT application is limited."

In a related issue, the HCM City People's Committee said it planned to replace printed textbooks with e-books in the first to third grades for the upcoming school year.

However, the leaders of primary schools said they did not have the money to buy tablets for students, and had questioned the practicality of the plan.

The city also wants to use interactive whiteboards for schools from kindergarten to high school by 2020.

The target is to have 412 kindergartens and 194 primary schools using the whiteboards by 2015.

The city has allocated VND740 billion (US$35 million) for investment in the whiteboards between 2011 and 2020, and will offer a subsidy of 50 per cent of costs to schools. Schools in disadvantaged districts such as Binh Chanh and Can Gio will be fully subsidised by the city.

Some other schools have turned down the 50 per cent ($4,285) subsidy because they could not collect enough money from students to pay for the other 50 per cent.

Since the 2008-09 academic year, the country has carried out an IT programme for schools, but the internet infrastructure has been insufficient.

According to a survey of 10,000 teachers in the country last October, cited in Lao Dong (Labour) Newspaper, only 41 per cent of the teachers' schools had servers. Only 25.3 per cent had an online library for teachers. More than 52 per cent had websites.

The survey found that 73 per cent had classrooms with computers. Of those, only 2 per cent had classrooms with more than 50 computers. Many classes have more than 50 students.

The survey was conducted by the Centre for Research Devices in Teaching under the Viet Nam Institute of Education Sciences in co-operation with its partners. — VNS

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