Distance education remains ineffective due to school material shortage
  • | VietNamNet | June 29, 2011 04:08 PM

In Vietnam, the students, who follow distance learning courses, still have to come to classes due to the lack of school materials.

Distance learning has been attracting an increasingly high number of learners, because this kind of training allows learners to obtain university degree, while it does not set high requirements on students. Especially, learners do not have to attend the national university entrance exams, which allow students to easily register the study branches they want.

However, educators say distance education is facing too many difficulties.

Very few materials

In principle, when following distance education, learners mostly have to teach themselves with the assistance of school materials. In the digital area, with the support of Internet, there are many methods to deliver teaching, including video and audio tapes, CD-Rom, software products, personal audio and video media… However, learners still complain that they have been seriously lacking school materials.

Phan Huy Cung, Director of the Distance Learning Center of the Can Tho University, said the center has been allowed to provide distance education in seven branches and three majors. The training curriculums for distance education are similar with the curriculums for regular training with 112 credits per curriculum.

Meanwhile, to date, the center has had only 153 materials compiled under the mode of learning guide documents, and has delivered 41 textbooks for distance education learners. Cung admitted that such a modest number of materials are still not enough to serve learning.

The Distance Education Center under the Hue City University has been well- known as one of the schools which first launched distance education courses which has trained more than 85,000 students in 16 majors.

However, Nguyen Van Hoa, the center’s Director, said that the centre has only 400 textbooks compiled specifically for distance learning system, which he admitted that cannot meet the training requirements. Therefore, distance education students sometimes have to use the textbooks designed for regular training.

Ho Huu Tri, Director of the Distance Education Centre under the HCM City Open University, said that his students now mostly learn with the lecture outlines provided by lecturers.

The updated material repository on Internet reserved for distance education training is clearly an important source of materials for students to access. However, the number of documents for reference updated by the schools remains limited.

The website of the branch of the Binh Duong University has updated 71 summarized lectures, seven materials for graduation review and two internship guide documents. Similarly, the total number of materials at the Hue Distance Learning Centre remains modest at 60.

Lacking experiences

Cung said that distance learning center has been facing financial problems. The Can Tho University has to advance one billion dong to the center to fund the material compilation. However, it is not easy to compile textbooks for distance education, because this is a new kind of training. Meanwhile, most of the lecturers come from regular training, who still lack experiences in distance training.

Meanwhile, educators understand well that distance education learners need the textbooks specifically designed for them. It is because while following distance learning, students have to spend much time on learning themselves.

The lack of materials has led to the fact that students of distance learning systems now still have to go to classrooms.

Hoa admitted that the “face-to-face training” has still been applied, since many students in remote areas cannot access the materials on Internet or TVs due to the lack of equipments. Meanwhile, Cung said students have to gather on Saturdays and Sundays to listen to lectures.

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