The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training will invest in more modern school equipment, including interactive whiteboards for primary schools and kindergartens by 2015.

By 2015, 412 kindergartens and 194 primary schools would be equipped with the whiteboards. The investment will expand to secondary and junior high schools by 2020.

The city has allocated 740 billion VND (35 million USD) for purchases between 2011 and 2020. Subsidies of 50 percent will be given to schools that decide to buy the whiteboard system.

Schools located in disadvantaged districts including Binh Chanh and Can Gio will receive a full subsidy from the city government.

At a recent workshop held by the department, deputy head Le Hoai Nam said the system would improve the quality of teaching English at schools.

Under the policy, each primary school would invest in three interactive whiteboard systems, including one electronic touch board, one projector and one laptop.

Each kindergarten would receive one whiteboard system, he added.

Many primary schools and kindergartens in the city have been using these interactive whiteboards for many years.

Dinh Thien Can, head of the educational division in District 1, said 15 kindergartens and 16 primary schools in the district were equipped with electronic touch boards.

Teaching aid

Le Thi Ngoc Diep, principal at Nguyen Binh Khiem Primary School, said this was a teaching aid that makes classes more exciting and interesting.

Parents have noticed the effectiveness of the boards and have offered money to help pay for the boards.

Le Tan Loc, teacher at Minh Dao Primary School in District 1, said that his school also uses interactive boards as teaching aids in classes of history, geography, English, math and literature.

The boards have a large interactive display that connects to a computer and a projector that projects the computer desktop on the boards' surface where users control the computer using a pen, finger, stylus or other device.

Nguyen Quang Vinh, head of the department's Primary Education Division, said the department's survey showed the system had helped teachers become more effective in their jobs and improve students' learning results.

Truong Thi Viet Lien, deputy head of the department's pre-school education division, said the boards should be used for children aged five and above. She said they can develop music and art skills.

Some kindergartens have declined the subsidy of 50 percent of total money for buying the system.

A representative of a kindergarten in District 6 said the price of a system is 181 million VND (8,619 USD) and they could not afford the remaining 50 percent of the cost.-VNA