Interim Report: A case study of Internet-based distance education program development in Vietnam
This is a report of the role of Distance education (DE) in enhancing education and training in developing countries. As countries compete in an ever more challenging international marketplace, they recognise the need to continually train and upgrade their citizens. As national leaders struggle to cope with increasing populations and decreasing budgets, DE can be an additional and often essential tool in accomplishing this goal.
This paper is a case study of the efforts of one college in Vietnam, Fisheries College Number 4, to develop a plan to introduce a small distance education offering to its regular courses. Its purpose was to better serve farmers in remote regions. The first author, Ramona Materi, through her company, Ingenia Consulting, carried out the work on behalf of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), a public corporation created by the Parliament of Canada to help researchers and communities in the developing world to find solutions to their social, economic, and environmental problems. Materi’s assignment was to work with College officials to develop the DE plan and funding proposal.
The paper begins with a brief description of the role of information and communications technology (ICT) in education and development, particularly in South East Asia. It then provides an overview of Vietnam and its current activities in DE. The next section offers a detailed examination of the challenges the College faced in developing a plan for DE on the Internet. The paper concludes with Materi’s personal observations and commentary on lessons learned.