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Online Tutoring Platform to Reach Students Across Vietnam

A Vietnamese online tutoring platform, Marathon, has raised US$1.5 million in investment for a pre-seed round. The investment funds participating include angel investors in the fields of education and technology. The new funding is expected to help Marathon pilot teaching subjects such as Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry for Grades 6-12 in the National Programme by the Ministry of Education and Training.

The programme will extend the curriculum in the future. According to a news report, currently, most of Vietnam’s 18 million students still rely on private tutoring to concretise their knowledge as well as improve their scores at schools and college entrance exams. The platform will help maintain social distancing protocols while helping students in far-flung parts of the country get access to educational assistance.

From 50% to 70% of Grade 12 students take extra classes after school but the market is still very fragmented. Many tutoring centres are run by former public-school teachers and concentrated in major cities. For teachers, running a centre means they need to handle administrative tasks such as marketing, enrolment, and communication with learners’ parents. These tasks will affect the quality of training course designing.

As cities nationwide have imposed social distancing orders, traditional classes must quickly switch to online teaching platforms. When teachers join Marathon, the administrative work will be taken care of by this start-up. This Edtech online model also makes it possible for teachers to reach more students, even in other cities. Teachers who move from tutoring centres to Marathon are believed to be able to increase their income by two to three times.

Online platforms have been crucial in delivering public services to citizens in the pandemic. For instance, in July, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) mobilised different resources to build technological platforms for the prevention and control of COVID-19. Six platforms have been deployed, including health declaration and entry/exit management systems with QR Codes, a vaccination management platform, sample taking and testing result systems, tracing support, quarantine supervision, and a data analysis platform to help managers.

MIC also approved an e-commerce plan that aims to boost the sale of farm produce and accelerate distribution through online platforms. Two sites, Postmart and Vo So, have been assigned to place farm produce on sale, thus promoting the digital economy in agriculture and rural development. Through the platforms, farming households will receive useful information about farm produce markets, predicted demand and production capacity, weather forecasts, and seed and fertilizer supply.

In August, MIC issued a directive on promoting the development and use of safe digital platforms. The directive is also expected to contribute to creating digital trust and ensuring the safety of Vietnam’s cyberspace. While digital platforms have made important contributions, information and data leakage on digital platforms still occurs on an increasingly large scale. The spread of fake news, information that violates the law, especially on cross-border digital platforms, has negative impacts. Therefore, the government requires businesses that manage digital platforms to develop platforms that can protect themselves and have tools to process and remove information that violates the law.

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