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UNESCO report highlights need to strengthen digital citizenship education in Vietnam

UNESCO Bangkok on 14 May 2019 launched a research report comparing youth knowledge of and attitudes on digital citizenship across four Asian countries. The report, titled “Insights into Children’s Digital Citizenship,” compared survey responses from about 5,000 15-year-old youth from South Korea, Fiji, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Competency Bangladesh
(N=1,055)
Fiji
(N=1,236)
South Korea
(N=1,784)
Viet Nam
(N=1,051)
Digital Literacy 3.01 3.14 3.31 3.10
Digital Safety and Resilience 3.33 3.45 3.53 3.35
Digital Participation and Agency 3.02 3.04 2.98 3.00
Digital Emotional Intelligence 3.06 3.18 3.22 2.96
Digital Creativity and Innovation 2.60 2.72 2.76 2.74

This study aims to create an assessment tool that can measure core digital citizenship competencies; establish baseline scores for the participating countries; and identify factors that are linked to differences in children’s digital citizenship skills.

In Vietnam, 1,051 youth (53% female) participated in the survey, divided equally between rural and urban residents. The survey tested knowledge on digital literacy, safety, participation, emotional intelligence, and creativity. The results showed that Vietnam lags South Korea and Fiji in most areas. (see table below)

While Vietnam’s scores show the need to strengthen digital citizenship education, Vietnam’s participation in the survey itself is a sign of progress. The SecDev Foundation was a key catalyst in driving this result, as Vietnam joined the UNESCO effort following the February 2017 Digital Citizenship Symposium in Hanoi, a joint effort between the Foundation and Vietnet-ICT, a Hanoi-based NGO focused on ICT education.

The Symposium included a speaker from the UNESCO Bangkok program, ‘Fostering Digital Citizenship Education in Asia Pacific.’ Following the Symposium, the Ministry of Information and Communications agreed to send two delegates to a UNESCO-Google event in March 2017 in Bangkok that kick-started the survey research project. Vietnam soon after agreed to participate in the DKAP survey.

In the intervening year, UNESCO feels Vietnam has made significant strides in recognizing the need for digital citizenship education in schools.

UNESCO’s Teng Xi Jian told the Foundation: “Vietnam has arguably been our most committed and efficient partner…. As part of Vietnam’s response to the report, there is an opportunity to integrate the concept of digital citizenship competencies into the curriculum reform process that is happening this year. They intend to communicate with the textbook developers and the curriculum department about this.”

“There is also a dissemination workshop where the country report and the regional report results will be shared with government stakeholders, the schools in Hanoi that participated in the research, and other relevant stakeholders. In that sense, I think Vietnam demonstrates continued commitment to DKAP activities as a whole.”

The SecDev Foundation’s ongoing Digital Citizenship Vietnam program promotes youth awareness and knowledge on digital citizenship, including youth engagement with policy-makers on internet governance issues. The program supported Vietnam’s first-ever Youth Internet Governance Forum in March 2019.

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