Monday, December 30, 2013

Why local schools choose a Chinese education software?

VietNamNet Bridge – Why has a Chinese software product, not a Vietnamese or foreign one, been advised to be used at secondary schools? The answer is that there is no Vietnamese suitable product, while foreign ones are too expensive.

Bui Viet Ha, Director of Schoolnet, a member of the group of authors compiling the informatics textbook for secondary school, said on December 25 that the Chinese software was put into use in 2006 already. But only in mid-2012 did someone discover the image of the U-shape line in the software.

The authors then sent a letter to the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), reporting the problem and suggested replacing the lesson with other content.

This means that the problem was reported to MOET in 2012 already. The ministry then met the group of authors to discuss amending some content in the textbook.

In January 2013, the authors was officially assigned to re-write the content and told to use another software piece.

However, as Ha said, the work only finished last August, which means that the teaching in accordance with the new textbooks will only begin in 2014.

When asked why a Chinese software product – Earth Explorer – was chosen, Ha said it was very difficult to find suitable software pieces that can support the teaching and learning well.

To date, only the tools supporting the compilation of lesson plans have been available on the market, while there has been no specific software for specific learning subjects. No software product supporting the viewing of geographical map or marine natural resources has been found.

In fact, according to Ha, there is a lot of software products believed to be very useful for Vietnamese schools. However, the products are very expensive.

“Experts themselves found it difficult to find the software, free and suitable,” Ha said.

As such, the use of Chinese software instead of Vietnamese has been blamed on the lack of Vietnamese products.

Analysts have also noted that Vietnamese technology firms are not interested in making education software products, not because of their low technologies, but because of the intellectual property problems.

The firms understand well that the software may be unsalable because of the schools’ lack of money, or may be pirated. This explains why there are only several firms specializing in making education software.
On December 24, 2013, MOET released a document affirming that after discovering the U-shape line in Earth Explorer, it has instructed schools to skip the lesson while waiting for new textbooks. The reprinted version of the textbook in 2013 does not contain the lesson “learning geography with Earth Explorer” any more.

However, worries still exist. MOET, which has been pioneering in applying information technology, still does not have a division in charge of examining the education software products to be used in teaching.
At present, schools have been encouraged to take initiative in choosing software products themselves that can best serve their teaching. Meanwhile, it is clear that schools are not qualified enough to find “clean” software products which do not contain the problems like the U-shape line.

Buu Dien

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