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15 May 2013

Mobile schools top of the class

Mobile school in Vietnam

The first of two mobile schools was launched in March

School children in isolated communities in Vietnam are benefitting from mobile schools funded by HSBC. The Mekong Delta region is one of the most disadvantaged in Vietnam and its villages, largely rural, suffer from a lack of modern education facilities.

The first of two mobile schools was launched in March with funding from HSBC’s flagship education programme Future First. It is estimated that 150 local teachers and 18,000 disadvantaged students, aged between 10 and 16, will benefit from the project, which offers computers, internet access and financial education to communities. It is run in conjunction with the Dariu Foundation, a non-governmental organisation based in Switzerland.

The mobile school teaches them about the importance of saving and how to plan daily and monthly spending

The mobile school visits each town for about three months, allowing students to complete a computer and financial literacy course that should improve their access to further education and make them more employable. After the three-month period, the school moves to another location.

The second mobile school, to be launched early next year, will be built on a boat, to allow access for communities in the Mekong Delta, which depend on the river basin.

Luu Kieu Oanh, 14, a local pupil from the Tan Tay Secondary School, Go Cong Dong District, Tien Giang province, says: “In my school two to three students share a very old desktop when we are in the computer class. Some of my friends haven’t even studied with a computer before because we don’t have the facilities and teachers to conduct the class. Here each of us can use a laptop to learn very comfortably. This is really a dream coming true.”

Nguyen Pham Thai Binh, a teacher at the school, says that owning a computer at home is too expensive for many parents. Compared to children in the cities, students have little access to computers and the internet, which makes it hard for them to fully develop their potential.

Mr Thai Binh says that the financial education provided by the mobile school is important to students who in a few years will lead independent lives. “The mobile school teaches them about the importance of saving and how to plan daily and monthly spending.”

He also hopes the programme will make local children more employable. “The unemployment ratio in Vietnamese rural areas is high. And because of a lack of education many find it hard continue their studying at the universities in the cities. I hope that the mobile school project will help our students be more confident in making the most of opportunities after high-school graduation.”

Scott Solberg, HSBC Head of Client Management Global Banking, Vietnam, says: “We believe that this educational support will help to narrow the gap in computer skills between students in urban and rural areas and enable students to explore more opportunities for learning and job seeking in the future. Indirectly, this can contribute to improving the livelihood of vulnerable households where these students are growing up.”

In addition to the mobile schools project, Future First is also supporting a programme to provide vocational training and support for a further 723 disadvantaged children in the region. As part of its wider global initiative, Future First has helped more than 70,000 underprivileged young people in Vietnam since the partnership began in 2006.

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