VietNamNet Bridge – One-thousand days since the idea of building mobile schools and provide computer education to children in rural areas struck Nguyen Van Hanh, five such institutions have been set up.
The idea came to Hanh, director of the Dariu Foundation in Viet Nam, when he was working with some computer centres in southern Dong Nai Province to offer free courses to disadvantaged children living in rural areas.
Dariu Foundation is a Switzerland-based NGO that specialises in micro-financing and education projects for rural areas.
He later recognised that the courses were not very effective. The children often skipped classes though they did not have to pay school fees because they had to travel long distances to get there. Several students dropped out of school.
Hanh thought a mobile school would remove some of the major obstacles and provide rural children with more motivation.
The first effort to convert a container truck into a mobile computer school was launched in June 2011 in Dong Nai Province’s Vung Liem District.
Three more were built subsequently in the provinces of Vinh Long and Tien Giang and 15 courses have been organised so far.
At the launch of the fifth school recently in a rural district of Mekong Delta’s Tien Giang Province, Hanh said that the first four air-conditioned container trucks with tables and laptops inside have imparted computer education to more than 4,000 children in both the Mekong Delta provinces.
By 2017, the foundation plans to raise the number of mobile schools to 20. With US$340,000 in sponsorship from HSBC, the foundation plans to have more than 28,000 students in rural areas enrolled in computer classes over the next three years.
The overall aim of the mobile computer school project is to shorten the development gap between urban and rural areas.
Now, poor children in rural areas can also update their computer skills and knowledge, making it easier for them to join a university or college, according to Nguyen Van Triet, a computer teacher at the school.