Survey | Prospects for EdTech in Southeast Asia: A Look at Vietnam and Cambodia

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Southeast Asia, one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world, is undergoing an educational technology revolution. With the increasing integration of the global economy and technology, Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Cambodia are facing significant challenges and opportunities in education reform.

Current State of EdTech

In Vietnam and Cambodia, traditional teaching methods still dominate, especially in rural and remote areas. However, these nations are also witnessing a rapid rise in digital education tools and online education platforms. The increase in internet coverage allows more students and educators to access online educational resources. For years, Vietnam has been among the top ten countries with the fastest-growing EdTech sectors. If Vietnam can overcome the challenges brought about by the post-pandemic era in 2023, its EdTech industry will witness even greater growth.

Increased Application of IT in Vocational Education in Vietnam

According to a report by the British Economist, Vietnam’s education system is highly praised for its emphasis on educational values and teacher competencies. The article suggests that Vietnamese students enjoy one of the world’s best learning systems, excelling in multiple reading, international math, and science competitions. World Bank’s recent data indicates that Vietnamese students not only surpass some Southeast Asian counterparts in scores but also outperform students from developed countries like the UK and Canada. Notably, Vietnamese students’ performances are uninfluenced by factors like gender and region, which is uncommon in other nations.

The piece also cites a 2020 survey by Abhijeet Singh, a research expert from the Stockholm School of Economics in Switzerland. The study found that when given the same test, Vietnamese students aged 5 to 8 outperformed their peers from Ethiopia, India, and Peru. Additionally, the Economist article highlights the continuous improvement of Vietnam’s educational system. Unlike other developing countries, Vietnam’s education system has been enhancing over time. Vietnamese teachers are efficiently managed, receive regular training, and are supported to make classrooms more engaging.

Although Cambodia started later, it is rapidly developing. In recent years, the country has established several online educational platforms, like “CambodianEdu.” These platforms offer courses in English, math, science, and more, and have started to expand into rural and remote areas.

Challenges in Technological Infrastructure While Vietnam’s internet coverage has surpassed 50%, Cambodia’s remains around 30%. Especially in Cambodia’s remote areas, a stable internet connection is still a luxury due to lacking infrastructure. Thus, providing stable tech support in these areas becomes a significant challenge for promoting EdTech.

To address this, the Vietnamese government is actively improving internet facilities in rural and remote regions, aiming to provide high-speed internet services. Vietnam is also collaborating with international organizations to develop low-cost, high-performance internet devices suitable for these regions. Similarly, the Cambodian government recognizes the importance of infrastructure and has begun investing in more internet facilities. Cambodia has launched a program named “Digital Cambodia” to provide better internet services in rural and remote areas. Moreover, Cambodia seeks collaborations with international tech firms to introduce more global educational resources.

Chinese Teacher Training Online Program for Cambodian Youth in 2023

Potential and Opportunities in EdTech

Despite technological barriers, both Vietnam and Cambodia realize the immense potential of EdTech. For instance, virtual classrooms and online education platforms offer students a more flexible way to learn, especially during the pandemic. Furthermore, Vietnam is promoting STEM education nationwide, while Cambodia seeks partnerships with international tech companies to train local IT talent.

In Vietnam, companies are developing online courses tailored for STEM education. Typically, these courses integrate gaming and interactive experiments to spark students’ interest in science and technology. Additionally, some platforms allow students to showcase their work and engage with teachers and peers.

In Cambodia, cultivating IT talents has become a crucial national strategy. The government understands that rapid economic growth relies on technology and digitalization. Collaborating with international tech firms is key to nurturing local IT professionals. International tech companies have already set up training programs in Cambodia and provided various online educational resources. In 2021, Cambodia’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, collaborated with Huawei Technologies (Cambodia) Co., Ltd to host the Huawei ICT competition. This significant tech event attracted students from over ten Cambodian universities. The general public opinion believes that Cambodia has shown immense determination and action in promoting digital economic development in recent years. With numerous government policies being rolled out, the outlook for Cambodia’s digital economy appears promising.

Experts predict that over the next decade, the EdTech markets in Vietnam and Cambodia will continue to grow. Especially with strong government support, coupled with the refinement of technological infrastructure and a diverse array of online educational content, the rise of EdTech in Southeast Asia will persist.

(Article by INNEWS)