Associate Prof. Dr. Vu Hai Quan – Director of Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City (VNU-HCMC) – informed that in the last 10 years, university members of his organization have continuously poured money into the development of suitable platforms to support professional and academic activities such as digital library, management system for academic tasks.
Yet, facing the tough and sudden pandemic, it seems these preparation works are still insufficient and unintegrated, leading to a high need of a more comprehensive digital transformation plan. “The Covid-19 pandemic has forbidden traditional teaching methods from happening, and all training sessions must be online. Therefore, digital transformation now plays the role of keeping the teaching-learning flow smooth”, said Dr. Quan.
For instance, HCMC University of Technology (HCMUT), member of VNU-HCMC, has perfected its technical facilities, including electronic learning materials, teaching platforms, video clips in order to serve nearly 22,000 under- and post-graduates there. Vice Rector of HCMUT Tran Thien Phuc informed that in 2021 the university had to rent and operate a special storage system to save data of HD-standard teaching clips and assignments of all 22,000 learners for a period of 4 to 6 years.
Many universities nationwide are building their databases and samples for scientific research activities. These databases are closely linked to form a network to serve domestic and international scientists in their process of handling major issues. The shared databases, managed by a Big Data center, also make it more convenient for the examination tasks, boost the cooperation in the scientific community, and offer the calculation capacity for experiments based on Big Data.
Startup activities in higher education receive much attention via the establishment of startup centers, where innovative ideas are incubated and exhibitions are hosted to introduce startup products to potential investors and businesses in the corresponding fields.
Dr. Quan mentioned a necessity of strong digital infrastructure, including reliable and stable logic and physical facilities (data, network, bandwidth, modern pedagogy methods, scientific research, learner experiences, platforms and teaching tools) in order to ensure successful digital transformation in the education field. This asks for detailed and clear policies from the Government.
Stressing that digital transformation in education does not merely mean teaching and learning online, Dr. Quan said this transformation means to digitalize the whole teaching-learning process, to automatize academic and management tasks, to improve the teaching capability, and to increase the training quality so as to meet the market demands.
Vice Rector of HCMC University of Food Industry Thai Doan Thanh stated that we have moved from the old time of information searching for weeks in libraries to the modern time of categorizing so much information from Google. Thus, digital transformation is a must to keep up with the changes in the world and improve both administration performance as well as training, research quality.
Experts in the field mention three important factors leading to this digital transformation in a university, namely reduction in State budget, growth in learner expectation, and increasingly modern technologies. Along with that are the three main components in the process: human resources, strategies, and technologies. This transformation is expected to lead to a development in training quality and research results, the birth of novel training methods / models, and a rise in financial resources.
Obviously, digital transformation in tertiary education is like to form a new and modern educational ecosystem, with golden opportunities as well as tough challenges. In that process, changing the thinking of human beings so that they dare to change is core to the success, as stated by Director of VNU-HCMC’s Database Center Bui Quoc Anh.