Microsoft Vietnam, Vietnet-ICT and The Dariu Foundation have partnered to create the 'Enabling Boat,' an empowerment project targeting young programmers in Vietnam's Mekong Delta.
The 'Enabling Boat,' a months-long project aimed at empowering southern Vietnam's tech-savvy youth, launched at the Saigon-Vinh Long Hotel in Vinh Long Province on April 10 with support from the sponsors who implemented the venture.
Vietnet-ICT and The Dariu Foundation, a Swiss NGO active in promoting education initiatives in Vietnam, implemented the project with funding provided by Microsoft Vietnam as part of the larger YouthSpark Digital Inclusion (YDI) program.
|Local teachers and students display innovative educational practices at the 'Enabling Boat''s launch ceremony on April 10, 2018. Photo: Tien Bui|
YDI aims to provide an environment conducive to teaching computer science in middle and high schools across Vietnam.
Now in its third phase, the YDI set the primary objective for the enabling boat as reaching young students in the three Mekong Delta provinces of Vinh Long, Tien Giang, and Hau Giang.
According to Khoa Pham, director of corporate external and legal affairs for Microsoft Vietnam, Microsoft's contribution for the project totaled US$3 million.
|A panel discussion at the launch ceremony to exchange ideas between the sponsor, implementers, and beneficiaries of the project. Photo: Tien Bui|
Microsoft Vietnam is also willing to work with educational organizations in disadvantaged areas to provide bundles of licensed software at cost-effective prices.
The 'Enabling Boat' project aims to achieve its objectives by boosting students' technological competence via computer science training and programming courses in Scratch/Kudo aboard an actual boat equipped with 30 laptops and Internet access.
In 2018, the project's goals include training 35,000 students aged 6-17 in digital skills, with 10,000 of those exposed to coding.
|A 9th grader demonstrates her Scratch programming skills at the launch ceremony. Photo: Tien Bui|
Five hundred teachers in the affected provinces will also have the opportunity to receive professional development training in order to maximize the project's impact.
The idea of using a boat stems from the geographical conditions of the Mekong Delta, where rivers and canals abound and mobile schools in tractor-trailers are not always feasible options.
|This robotic car programmed by an 8th grader in Vinh Long Province can be controlled via computer software. Photo: Tien Bui|
Though the ceremony took place this week, the project officially began earlier this year when the boat started its first three-month stopover.
At the launching ceremony, the effectiveness of YDI and the 'Enabling Boat' was exhibited by a student demonstration of programming skills featuring an 8th grader programming a robotic car controlled via computer software.
|The boat is equipped with 30 computers and travels between the three provinces of Tien Giang, Hau Giang, and Vinh Long. Photo: Tien Bui|
The Dairu Foundation currently operates several other initiatives in the Southeast Asian country, including microfinancing schemes for low-income women, scholarships for disadvantaged students, kindergartens in rural and remote areas, mobile schools for digital training operating out of containers and boats, mobile libraries, and a vocational training program for disadvantaged young Vietnamese.
|The 'Enabling Boat' is implemented by The Dariu Foundation and Vietnet-ICT with financial support from Microsoft Vietnam. Photo: Tien Bui|
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