The purpose of this paper is to explore the disparities in social awareness and use of the internet between urban and rural school children in the North of Vietnam.
A total of 525 pupils, aged 9-11 years old, randomly selected from seven urban and rural schools, who are internet users, participated in the study and consented to responding to a questionnaire adapted from an equivalent European Union study. A comparative statistical analysis of the responses was then carried out, using IBM SPSS v21, which consisted of a descriptive analysis, an identification of personal self-development opportunities, as well as issues related to pupils’ digital prowess and knowledge of internet use and internet safety, including parental engagement in their offspring’s online activities.
The study highlights the fact that children from both the urban and rural regions of the North of Vietnam mostly access the internet from home, but with more children in the urbanized areas accessing it at school than their rural counterparts. Although children from the rural areas scored lower on all the internet indicators, such as digital access and online personal experience and awareness, there was no disparity in awareness of internet risks between the two sub-samples. It is noteworthy that there was no statistically significant gender difference towards online activities that support self-development. In relation to safe internet usage, children are likely to seek advice from their parents, rather than through teachers or friends. However, they are not yet provided with an effective safety net while exposing themselves to the digital world.
Although the Vietnamese national curriculum on the computer science subject does not explicitly cover the use of the internet and its related aspects, the majority of children who took part in this study claimed to have used the internet in their learning activities. This emphasises the urgent need for the Ministry of Education and educators in the country to not only improve information and communication technology facilities in schools, but also to revise the computer science curriculum in order to provide a supportive environment for learning development and collectively advocate the dynamics of internet use in order to ensure safe access and use by the children.
Nguyen, Q., Naguib, R., Das, A., Papathomas, M., Vallar, E., Wickramasinghe, N., Santos, G., Galvez, M. and Nguyen, V. (2018), "Primary education in Vietnam and pupil online engagement", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 71-83. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-11-2016-0242Download as .RIS
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