By mid-April, about 1.7 billion students around the world were affected by the closure of schools as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19. According to UNESCO, some school closures commenced as early as March 2020 while other schools just closed recently. How have different governments from around the world responded to the challenges of school closures and mitigated their effects on teachers, students, and parents?
All countries affected by the spread of COVID-19 addressed the disruption and came up with mechanisms on how to provide continuity of learning to students. In countries like France, Japan, Italy, China, Cyprus, and Portugal, learning was facilitated through the use of distance education where students engage in online learning.
In countries like Costa Rica, Senegal, Republic of Korea, Islamic Republic of Iran and Thailand, school staff and administrators communicate with parents in the delivery of synchronous and asynchronous learning through live sessions and pre-recorded learning videos. Costa Rica, Thailand and Iran used applications so that teachers and learners constantly communicate with each other.
Meanwhile, in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, awareness campaigns and strategies to disseminate information on distance learning programs and to keep stakeholders updated were launched. In Liberia and Rwanda, lessons were broadcast in radio stations nationwide. Timor-Leste and Ukraine partnered with the UNICEF and Microsoft to help students continue learning at home through an online learning platform. In Ivory Coast, lessons were taped and were aired on national TV. The Malawi government provided continuous learning among its students through radio, television, and online.
In some countries, commendable efforts were exerted to keep the learners and other stakeholders engaged. In China, Guatemala, Spain, and Italy, programs were launched to give online technical and pedagogical support to parents and caregivers. In France, Japan, and Korea, some children were accommodated in schools because they cannot be cared for at home. In Thailand and Japan, teachers arranged regular visits with students for monitoring. Communication apps were also used to communicate with students to fill the void of being isolated from confinement.