Nguyen Kim Son, Minister of Education and Training, said on Sunday that about 7.35 million students are studying online in 26 localities imposing social distancing orders. About 20% lack the equipment to do so, while classes delivered through television have also faced difficulties with equipment and signals, he said.
These figures do not yet take into account localities where in-person classes are available, but could shift to online equivalents if the pandemic evolves, he said, highlighting the dangers of inequality in education.
“Inequality in education can turn into a larger problem, one that is no longer confined to the areas of education and training alone,” Son said.
A program to call on citizens and businesses to support students, especially those in coronavirus-affected areas and those who lack the resources to study online, was launched at a Sunday ceremony by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Information and Communication. The program is expected to minimize the negative impacts of the pandemic on the field of education and alleviate students’ learning difficulties, Son said.
At the ceremony, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said reopening schools was of great interest, but student safety should be the priority.
Nguyen Manh Hung, the information minister, said the ministry had asked internet service providers to provide access in socially remote areas for students to study online during this month. For this year, the service providers would also provide free internet access to students studying online under the support scheme.
At the ceremony, more than one million computers were donated to the program.
As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, many localities have imposed social distancing orders, forcing schools to close face-to-face classes. When the new school year started earlier this month, millions of students had to resort to online or TV lessons.