The necessity of Computer Science Education in Vietnam￼
Why Computer Science Education is nessesary?
According to the Communist Party of Vietnam resolution (1966), education aims to build a large community of strong scientists, technicians, and economic managers. This community has continued to develop technical expertise and absolute loyalty to the Communist Party. The goal is to help Vietnam keep up with the advanced scientific and technological level in the world. This resolution demonstrates a clear shift in the educational thinking of Vietnam’s government. They realized the importance of science in the country’s development and made Vietnam’s education more focused on the science subject than before. Indeed, besides Vietnamese, Math is an essential subject in K-12 education. However, because of wars, Vietnam’s education fell behind, and they skipped all the chances to develop the country in the previous industrial revolution periods. When the world begins its next phase of the industrial revolution with the explosion of technology, it will be Vietnam’s chance. Education must have a quick transformation, not only to focus on mathematics but also to focus on computer science education to help Vietnam minimize the gap with other countries in Asia and in the world.
Focusing on computer science education is the right direction for national development. First, technology helps economic growth by reducing production costs and increasing efficiency across all industries. For example, in factories, robots can replace humans in many repetitive jobs. They can work 24/7 at a faster speed and more accurately than humans. Even in agriculture, technology helps to control and adjust all factors affecting products, such as temperature, humidity, and soil quality remotely to ensure the best quality. Farmers can manage their farms with less effort and higher productivity and quality. In addition, technology also contributes to economic development by increasing average income. Indeed, jobs that are related to computer science usually have higher salaries than others. In the US, the technology industry is the second highest wage, just after enterprise (Statista, 2021). In Vietnam, based on the average salary categorized by field, jobs in the technology field such as software developers also are in the top 5 highest salaries, just after Hotel CEO, Bank CEO, pilot, and HR Manager (VOV report, 2018). Thus, if Vietnam has more people working in the technology industry, it can increase the average income, which will lead to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) increasing and economic development.
Second, technology plays an essential role in national security. Even though we live in a peaceful world, every country still maintains its security and applies the highest technology in the military. Vietnam also cannot stand outside. I do not mean Vietnam needs to develop technology for an arms race with other countries. However, when criminals are using high technology, Vietnam needs to use technology to ensure national safety. This is an extremely important mission of technology in national development.
Third, technology increases human living standards. For example, people can use the Internet to search for all information that they need. People also can easily communicate without distance barriers. Human lives are extended by applying technology in healthcare services. Life becomes more accessible with technology.
Current Computer Science education problem
Technology plays an essential part in supporting national development through economic growth, strengthening national security, and improving living standards. Thus, the need to develop computer science education to prepare for the future is undeniable. However, computer science education in Vietnam is still limited. There is a subject that is related to CS in K-12 school named Information Technology (IT). However, the curriculum is too basic and out of date. Students can only learn basic computer skills, such as turning on, turning off, typing, and using some essential software such as text editor and paint. In high school, this subject expands and gives students a chance to learn to code using Pascal programming language, a language created in the 1960s and no longer used in any software today. Thus, without a more robust curriculum, students cannot prepare for their future.
Another problem that is related to the poor quality of CS education is the teaching method. Vietnam’s Ministry of Education requires teachers to cover everything in the textbook. Teachers have a detailed syllabus for each lesson, and they must follow it strictly. Similarly, students have a huge amount of knowledge that they need to mimic and memorize to complete the test. In other words, current education only focuses on the amount of knowledge that students go through and the numeral results rather than what students can actually understand and apply.
Statista Research Department (Jan 20, 2021). Wage and salary accruals per full-time equivalent employee in the United States in 2019, by industry. https://www.statista.com/statistics/243834/annual-mean-wages-and-salary-per-employee-in-the-us-by-industry/
VOV Report. (2018). Average Salary. https://www.vietnamonline.com/az/average-salary.html