10 ASEAN countries discuss digital transformation in education hinh anh 1Delegates at the in-person conference in Vietnam (Photo: Ministry of Education and Training)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Education and Training in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund and the ASEAN Secretariat held the ASEAN – UNICEF conference on digital transformation of the education system throughout ASEAN on October 15.

Present at the in-person conference in Hanoi were representatives from ASEAN embassies in Vietnam, UNICEF Vietnam, UNESCO Vietnam, Hanoi-based universities and technology partners. Meanwhile, education ministers and senior officials of 10 ASEAN countries, the ASEAN Secretariat, and representatives from UNICEF and UNESCO in the region, Harvard University, and relevant technology partners joined the event via videoconference.

The conference was organised as part of Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020 and in the context of the bloc’s education sector working to ensure students are safe and their studies are not interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building a common set of criteria

Addressing the conference, ministers highlighted opportunities and challenges facing the education system in promoting digital and digital transformation skills as well as experience and solutions in protecting children from abuse and bad influence on the Internet. Issues such as interdisciplinary coordination, including cooperation with private partners, and improving digital skills and narrowing the digital gap for vulnerable student groups are also in place.

Vietnam’s Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha said more than two months ago, the meeting of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) themed “Parliamentary Partnership on Educational and Cultural Cooperation” stressed educational reform through digital transformation to mitigate interruption of education in the future as current priorities.

Nha said teachers and students should have access to information technology (IT) to take full advantage of humanity’s knowledge.

He called on education ministers in the bloc to work towards adopting effective policies and a legal framework on digital transformation in the education sector, emphasising that these would help improve management and teaching quality.

Education ministers should join hands and build a common set of criteria on digital skills in the region, he said, noting that it would pave the way for technologies to be applied in the education sector both thoroughly and systematically.

Sharing Vietnam’s efforts in promoting digital transformation, Nha said that as the country targets students in all grades being equipped with digital skills, IT is taught at primary schools and focuses on digital skills, the application of IT, and computer science.

The application of IT in teaching and knowledge-sharing has been developed in Vietnam, he said, adding that the ministry organises e-learning lesson design contests to improve teachers’ capacity in digital transformation while building digital learning and teaching data in the sector, with more than 7,000 high-quality materials having been shared on the internet.

Students learn information technology (Photo: Vietnam)

Promoting digital transformation in education

At the conference, representatives of countries shared their experience and challenges in digital transformation in education, in which experiences on supporting teachers and students to continue learning during the period of physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants spoke highly of the efforts and results Vietnam had achieved in maintaining study while not going to school during the pandemic.

From the reality, they shared experience in popularising technology,  improving digital and digital transformation skills in ASEAN member countries as well as the role of children and adolescents in building new education initiatives.

ASEAN education ministers adopted a joint statement that affirmed the importance of efforts to promote digital skills and digital transformation in the education sectors of member states.

They agreed to facilitate safe access for students to opportunities for digital study, cooperate with relevant bodies in the field of open education resources, and support the building of the ASEAN statement on digital transformation in the education system./.