The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training has submitted a plan to the municipal administration requesting approval for an ambitious pilot scheme that would establish a network of ‘smart schools’ in the megacity.
The scheme is among the steps being undertaken by the southern metropolis to realize its vision of becoming a smart city by 2025, which includes the development of low-cost energy, convenient public transport systems and improved healthcare services alongside high-quality education.
At the core of the ‘smart schools’ project is the application of information technology and communications in the management and organization of educational activities, said Nguyen Van Hieu, deputy director of the Department of Education and Training.
The ultimate goal is to establish a complete online interactive environment that interconnects schools, families, and society – the three pillars supporting a student’s success, Hieu explained.
To realize this goal, tablets, interactive boards, and cyber teaching materials will be utilized to their fullest potential.
Tests and examinations will also begin to be held online through Internet-connected devices, the director said.
The municipal department of education will work to establish an open online library for teaching materials and education applications and software which all students and teachers can access and download for their own use.
Apart from general exams, teachers are encouraged to compile personalized tests that are tailored to the ability and development of individual students, with the help of computer software.
Students will also be able to study and take exams from the comfort of their own home in certain circumstances, while attendance will be kept on a central computer system, eliminating the need for physical documents.
If the plan is approved, all equipment and devices will be funded with the city’s budget and will not result in hiking school fees for students, Hieu stressed.
According to the deputy director, moves have already been made to equip selected teachers in the city with the necessary skills to implement the plan once it is approved, with the earliest start date expected to be the 2018-19 academic year.
Only the top schools at each level will be part of this pilot scheme in its early stage, Hieu said.