Singapore volunteers will help introduce new English and IT learning tools for over 3,000 primary and secondary school students in Ho Chi Minh City under the recently launched Words and Wheels mobile digital library programme.
The programme, organised by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) in co-operation with the General Sciences Library (GSL) and funded by Keppel Land Limited, will run for over three years.
SIF governor Elim Chew said: “Words on Wheels is more than just a mobile library, it is really about ‘connecting’. We bring together Singapore and Vietnamese partners to share resources and the joy of cross-cultural learning to schoolchildren in HCM City.”
The programme was earlier implemented in Hanoi and is currently ongoing in Bandung, Indonesia, potentially benefiting 8,000 children.
The SIF saw how the programme opened a new window to the world for the children, providing them access to new knowledge about people and life outside their immediate environment.
In HCM City the programme will build on these successes to deliver an enhanced programme which will include, for the first time, English language and IT literacy skills and specialist training in library management.
Over the next three years the Words on Wheels mobile digital library will provide five schools and three cultural centres in Binh Chanh District free access to educational materials, IT resources, and learning facilities four times a month.
An estimated 300 Singaporean volunteers will make monthly trips to conduct classes aimed at improving English communication and IT skills and facilitating cross-cultural interactions for the children.
Specialist Singaporean volunteers will also conduct training classes for 24 GSL staff, local librarians, and teachers in enhanced library management and IT skills.
These trainees are in turn expected to share their knowledge and skills with their Vietnamese peers to bring the benefits of the library to greater numbers of children in the long run.
SIF, GSL, and partners will work together to achieve objectives like providing school children access to educational materials, information and technology and supporting learning tools.
They will also build and develop reading habits and self-study through activities at school and cultural centres, encouraging lifelong learning; developing abilities, confident communication, and learning skills for children to connect with the world; and foster friendship between Vietnam and Singapore.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the SIF’s work in providing platforms and opportunities for the people of Singapore and Vietnam to come together to build friendships, do good, and build understanding in meaningful ways.
Its work in Vietnam comprises community development and capacity-building projects focused in the areas of education and healthcare and hosting Vietnamese government officials and students in Singapore on exchange and visit programmes.