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Vietnam’s Nguyen Hoang Group (NHG) and Canada’s B+H Architects signed a strategic partnership agreement at the end of July to develop the former’s international education city in central Quang Ngai province.

From this school year, NHG will apply an information technology (IT) system at NHG International Education City (IEC) and also in its governance.

“We have installed almost all IT applications to support every aspect of work and life for our thousands of students and staff members,” said Dr. Tran Xuan Thao, Deputy CEO, Educational Research and Development Affairs, at NHG. “Technology not only helps us move forward faster but also helps with effectiveness and transparency.”

Essential tool

IT has been growing at an enormous rate of around 30 per cent each year and plays a crucial role in Vietnam’s socioeconomic development, especially in education, according to the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association (VINASA).

IT and IT management are particularly popular majors at the country’s universities, with some 300 universities now offering IT programs in response to growing demand. “AI is clearly attracting the attention of young people and can’t be ignored,” Dr. Thao said.

Though technology has been widely adopted in most industries already to improve efficiencies, the education sector is still in the early adoption stage.

Most education providers are evaluating and benchmarking best practices in other countries before adopting technology beneficial for local students.

For early adopters, their knowledge and experience will allow them to quickly adapt to trends and new advances in education technology (edtech) more easily than educational institutions who are only starting out now. 

Mr. Travis Stewart, Deputy CEO of Egroup, said there is huge potential for big data in education, which can be leveraged to improve learning outcomes. “At Egroup, we are always assessing our systems and processes to improve our performance internally so we can enhance the user experience and results,” he said.

Egroup has also been working with FPT on developing a technology system to bolster its internal operations to improve the customer experience at all subsidiary companies. Its focus remains to provide better services and communications to its customers to meet their needs.

Meanwhile, along with the installation of a quality assurance system being a top priority, NHG sees it as imperative for the whole system to utilize IT as a tool not only to minimize manual labor but also to equip all staff members in performing their tasks, allowing them to focus and have more time to find creative ways to raise quality and effectiveness.

It can embark on an IT platform since the group has a network of more than 30 campuses from Vietnam’s north to south. 

Mr. Stewart also revealed that the company will this year launch a new model of English language institution with an interactive technology-based system that makes learning easier for primary and secondary school students and ensures their learning goals are met.

Both of these new programs are aimed at an underserved market and Egroup expects to resolve many of the issues parents and students face in studying English.

Education is indeed one of the sectors with a focus on heavily investing in IT applications to create practical utilities for teaching and learning in the digital era.

 

“As a technology group pioneering new technology trends, FPT has researched and invested in the application of technology in education,” said Mr. Le Hong Viet, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the FPT Corporation.

One of FPT’s potential products for the edtech market is VioEdu, an online learning platform developed by the FPT Technology Innovation Department, with the ultimate aim of creating good learning and teaching experiences for all involved - students, parents, and teachers.

VioEdu uses 4.0 technologies such as AI, big data, and adaptive learning. The system of online exercises and tests applies the latest technologies such as knowledge modeling according to graphs, big data analysis, and AI to help personalize learning, with each student having a personalized learning process to overcome weaknesses and use and improve upon their strengths.

Replacing traditional methods

Vietnam’s edtech market has received investments totaling some $55 million, according to recruitment network and mobile and IT ecosystem TopDev.

There are now around 50 edtech companies in the country, with longstanding players including FPT and Topica, but most are still in the early stages of development. With only 5 per cent of office workers using online education services, the potential of edtech remains largely untapped, TopDev noted in its report.

Industry 4.0 presents an array of opportunities to local educators. At a recent education conference entitled “Empowering English Learners”, many speakers discussed how traditional teaching models are no longer effective, as information is at everyone’s fingertips. Instead of students relying on teachers to provide all necessary information, classrooms and teaching methods need to be modified to utilize technology. 

Mr. Stewart, meanwhile, believes the greatest challenge is raising awareness about the benefits of technology in education.

“We have strong support from our customers, who believe in our systems and education methods,” he said. “As awareness grows and more schools and organizations adopt technology, we will start to see customers embrace the change after seeing the results.” 

Just as with any new initiative or advance, conservative mindsets are the first and biggest obstacle and challenge, according to Dr. Thao from NHG.

One can buy modern facilities and equipment overnight, but it takes time for people to change their habits and behavior. “At NHG, we emphasize and invest in training for change,” he explained.

“We have more than 3,000 staff and don’t want to lose any of them from not investing sufficiently in their training and development.” 

Edtech is one of the toughest markets to be in and challenges loom large, experts note, but opportunities will come to those who can take advantage of and understand the difficulties.

It can’t be denied that high growth is being seen in Vietnam in online education in particular (of around 40 per cent) and in edtech more generally. In that context, the already-vibrant edtech market means more startups entering the market and competing at all costs. 

Vietnam’s edtech market has received investments totaling some $55 million, according to recruitment network and mobile and IT ecosystem TopDev.

There are now around 50 edtech companies in the country, with longstanding players including FPT and Topica, but most are still in the early stages of development. VN Economic Times


Hong Nhung