Vietnam Time

1/30/2018 8:23:54 AM

Ethnic minority students on the coding journey

The organisers have given 68 awards to schools, teachers, and students to acknowledge their efforts, creativity, and enthusiasm.

68 awards have been handed out in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City

With the product “Learning English through Environmental Protection,” Bo Bo Nam, a Raglai ethnic minority student, has overtaken hundreds of other candidates from 13 provinces and won the competition “Hour of Code and YDI products 2017” in the framework of the YouthSpark Digital Inclusion (YDI) project.

The “Hour of Code and YDI products 2017” competition was launched to encourage, inspire, and seek out young talents in ICT.

It is hardly ever noticed that after classes Bo Bo Nam of the Cam Ranh ethnic minority boarding school in the south-central coastal province of Khanh Hoa spent his evenings completing his programme with the 10-year-old outdated school computer.

Despite being born to a poor farming family, Bo Bo Nam is smart and willing to learn. With his great passion for computer science, Nam was the first student to ask to borrow books for self-studying when his teacher introduced the ICT and Computer Science programme of the YouthSpark project at school.

He pre-studied the course books by himself and was fascinated with programming, especially Scratch. "I love Scratch because I find it absorbing with visual images. It is also not too difficult and abstract to learn for me."

To provide students with hands-on experience, the school's lab was open at fixed times after school. Nam was always there during those times to practice and finish his programming product.

Bo Bo Nam, a Raglai ethnic minority student, won the award for his outstanding product in the competition “Hour of Code and YDI products 2017”

The programme "Learning English through Environmental Protection" created by Nam allows students to play while studying. Besides questions related to environmental terms in English, the programme also includes relevant knowledge about environmental protection, which has been highly evaluated for its creativity and content by the judges of the contest.

Nam’s is one of many impressive stories about the journey of thousands of ethnic minority students nationwide to overcome their difficulties to participate in the YDI project.

The project has been funded by US tech giant Microsoft and has been implemented by the ICT Department under the Ministry of Education and Training and the Vietnet Information Technology and Communication Centre (Vietnet-ICT) since 2016.

“The results of the project over the past two years have shown that the introduction of computer science and IT to young people in remote areas and to ethnic minorities is necessary,” said Le Hong Nhi, Citizenship manager of Microsoft Vietnam.

“Young people are equipped with the IT skills and can master computer science and develop programmatic thinking to solve practical issues in their areas. Through this project, Microsoft hopes to promote opportunities for the younger generation of Vietnam, especially disadvantaged communities, to be ready to embrace the digital revolution,” Nhi added.

The Vietnamese government is set to have in place one million IT workers by 2020. Towards this goal, it requires a comprehensive investment for secondary school students all over the country to access computer science (CS) and ICT education.

However, current CS and ICT knowledge of students remains limited and insufficient to prepare them for jobs or higher learning.

YDI aims to close the digital gap, inspire passion and develop knowledge and skills in computer science, computational thinking and ICT for students in rural areas. 

The main outcomes of the project are training materials and training lessons in computer science (CS) and ICT subjects which is planned to implement as an extracurriculum for secondary students and underserved youths in remote areas.

In addition, the project also brings about opportunities for youths to participate in creative activities and practical experience for future careers.

In order to build capacity for teachers and trainers, the project combines offline and online training. ICT teachers study e-learning tutorials which were uploaded on the Training Portal of MoET with ongoing support of master trainers, experts and system administrators. 

Teachers are required to conduct self-study of all e-learning lessons before attending in-person training. In-person training workshops focus on improving knowledge and pedagogies of the teachers, know-how to organise an effective and interactive lesson to students. 

At the same time, the project also organises monthly webinars to answer questions and update new ICT applications and sharing best practices among teachers/trainers.

After more than two years of implementation, over 1,500 teachers and nearly 200,000 students in disadvantaged areas of 14 cities and provinces across the country gained access to innovative learning methods and updated content on IT, computer science, and global integration./.

  ( VNF/VIR )
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