Since the first spread of the COVID-19 virus in China last year, almost 80% of the world’s total student population were forced to leave school as they close to contain the virus.
Some countries ordered long-term school closures, while others have just started shutting down schools to prevent the virus from spreading into student communities. Students who traveled overseas are given Leave of Absence as stated here to prevent them from coming into contact with other children.
Regardless of when these schools were closed, it is clear that it has caused major challenges for national governments, educators and families because students are now at home and unable to continue their classes.
Which countries have focused on ensuring continuity of learning?
Many governments have immediately scrambled to ensure students continue learning despite the current pandemic.
Distance learning, in particular, is now being used in most countries such as China, France, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Argentina, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Students in these countries are given access to online platforms where they can communicate with their teachers and follow their lectures through recorded massive open online courses (MOOC).
In countries like Croatia, Costa Rica, Iran, South Korea, Mexico, France, Rwanda, Spain, Senegal, Thailand, Vietnam and Peru, they have launched learning programs through television to help students.
Meanwhile, educational and communication apps are opened in Thailand, Costa Rica and Iran to help parents reach out to their child’s teachers to coordinate their lessons.
Since some people are still unfamiliar about the benefits of online learning, government agencies are utilizing social media to reach out to them.
In the United Arab Emirates, awareness campaigns are developed to reach out to all parties, from schools to students. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, used their social media pages to provide information to the public regarding social media.
For Those Families Without Technology
For areas that do not have access to the internet or to computers to help students keep up with their classes online, actions have been put in place by governments to address them.
In China, each student from low-income families is provided with free computers and given special deals to get access to affordable internet.
In France, students are provided with devices they can borrow and receive printed assignments if they have no access to the net or computers.
In the United Arab Emirates, the government launched a special hotline for students and teachers who find themselves in need of technical support for their computers or internet.
Washington State in the United States does not require schools to provide online learning platforms for their students, especially if they have students who have no access to a computer or internet.
In Portugal, the government is working on a partnership with their local post offices to help students receive their worksheets at home.
Adjusting the school and exam calendar
The announcement of school closures is a major blow to school calendars, especially for some countries which have entrance exams and major exams scheduled during the announcement.
In Chile, France, Spain, Japan, China and Vietnam, they announced a reschedule for all their exams, including those for universities and state colleges.
For those who cannot cancel the exam dates, special arrangements – such as online exams or special exams – are provided in China, Japan and Thailand. In some US states like Washington and Florida, all the remaining state testing schedules are cancelled for the current school year.
Meanwhile, Spain, Vietnam and South Korea have adjusted their school calendar accordingly to provide students time to catch up with their lecture.
Alleviating the burden on parents and caregivers
Aside from its impact on students, parents and caregivers are affected by the school closures because they now have to worry about what their children will be doing at home while they have no school.
For working parents, monitoring their children is exceptionally difficult because some of them cannot be absent from work.
Governments have recognized this problem and some actions are already in place.
In China and Italy, for example, online support is given to parents and guardians alike to assist them with their children.
Spain offers new platforms and apps for parents to reach out to their child’s teachers so they can collaborate on how they can ensure continuous learning at home.
Meanwhile, for families who cannot watch over their children at home, the governments of Japan, South Korea and France opened some schools who can watch over these kids.
Teacher visits are also done in Thailand and Japan to ensure that their students are doing well.
In Singapore, you can engage a 1-to-1 online tutors from SmileTutor to monitor your child’s home-based learning and help to achieve educational milestones.
What Singapore is doing right now in terms of education
Based on the latest circuit breaker announcement, schools have been fully shut down and classes have been fully transitioned to online learning across the country.
However, since the spread of the virus in Singapore, the Ministry of Education has been working round the clock to ensure students are learning continuously even at home and prevent the virus from spreading.
The MOE is looking into adjusting major examination schedules and format in case students are unable to cover certain topics due to the current climate.
As the virus continues to spread every day, it is key that countries and all parties find ways to reduce its impacts, especially to our student’s futures and mental health.
Retaining some sense of normalcy through our recommended continuous learning can reduce the strain they are feeling right now and ensure that everything will be ok. Make sure our kids strength their immunity through these steps here.
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