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Vietnam Launches Campaign to Donate 1m Computers to Students for Remote Learning

The free computers, set to be distributed by the end of this December, are part of a larger effort to help the nation's K-12 students during remote learning.

"Connection and Computers for Children" is a plan announced this past weekend by the Ministry of Technology and Communications in coordination with the Prime Minister's goal of leaving no child behind amidst the cessation of in-school classes. The scheme serves as recognition that many impoverished students do not have the technology or internet access required for home-based learning.

Of the roughly 7.35 million students enrolled in home-based education, an estimated 1.5 million do not have a computer. While rural areas are acutely affected by the lack of devices or internet access, it is an issue within Saigon as well. An estimated 77,000 students in the city did not have computer access when remote classes began earlier this month. And even those that are able to purchase laptops are experiencing availability issues and higher-than-normal prices thanks to scarcity and supply and demand. 

To supplement the VND2.5 trillion (US$110 million) in government funds allocated for the program, organizers have requested donations to help pay for the computers. A number of private and public businesses have already contributed. Vietnam Electricity (EVN) has donated 24,000 computers; the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) will provide VND25 billion to secure 10,000 computers; the Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) and the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) both contributed VND30 billion; the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) has committed 37,000 tablets; and Mobifone has pledged 4,000 tablets for students in need.

"Connection and Computers for Children" also addresses the current lack of internet access in many areas with VND3 trillion (US$133 million) of government funds pledged to establish cellular internet coverage in 1,910 remote areas by the end of 2021.

The authorities also announced a VND650 billion effort to provide free learning platform access and data for students. VNPT is offering free access to its learning platform as well as 4G data at no cost. Mobifone, meanwhile, has pledged similarly free use of government-approved programs and 4G data. 

[Photo by Phuong Thao via Bao Quang Nam]

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