The World Bank is actively working with ministries of education in dozens of countries in support of their efforts to utilize educational technologies of all sorts to provide remote learning opportunities for students while schools are closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is in active dialogue with dozens more.
In support of this work, the World Bank is cataloguing emerging approaches, by country, in an internal database.
Educ.ar is the educational portal of the Ministry of Education of Argentina aimed at providing curated digital resources for teachers, administrators, students, and families. The program “Seguimos Educando”, developed by the Ministry of Education and the Secretariat of Media and Public Communication, began broadcasting educational content from April 1, 2020. Seguimos Educando airs 14 hours a day of television content and 7 hours a day of radio content specially produced for students as a result of school closures. For both radio and television, each lesson broadcast will have the presence of a teacher and a conductor (journalist, artist, scientist), in addition to the dissemination of teaching materials. The television broadcasts premiered on the public channels and are also broadcast by private, provincial, university, cooperative and community channels. Radio Nacional and its 49 subsidiaries throughout the country have been broadcasting 7 programs daily of 1 hour each.
For students without access to technology or connectivity, this television and radio programming is supplemented with ‘notebooks’ packed with learning resources that have been delivered to homes of these students. 9 notebooks have been developed for this purpose: 2 notebooks are for pre-primary levels, 4 for primary levels, 2 for secondary level and 1 for the family.
The program also makes available a collection of on-demand digital educational materials and resources on the Educ.ar website under the ‘Seguimos Educando’ section. Seguimos Educando (“continuing to educate”) is organized by educational level and subject area. The platform includes self-learning resources, suggestions for families and teachers, films, interviews, educational and communication proposals through social networks and videoconferencing tools, agendas for online events as well as proposals for free time for students. It has a section on the website called “the class of the day”, where it provides a comprehensive daily proposal for student learning in combination with the educational television program and a series of printed notebooks. It also has a section on virtual reality that provides a collection of videos in 360° format aimed at allowing the user to have an immerse educational experience.
To ensure that this school closure does not exacerbate inequity in access to these learning resources, Argentina has zero-rated its Educ.ar education portal. “Through ENACOM, telephone companies have guaranteed that browsing the digital platform will be free of charge, it will not consume data,” said the Minister of Education.
A large number of content offerings have been compiled on the Ministry of Education’s website.
Learning platforms like Moodle and LMS are being used, as well as cloud solutions from companies such as Microsoft and Google. The content platform Eduthek, developed by the Ministry, offers learning and exercise material from external providers for kindergarten and pupils of all school levels to practise at home and to deepen their knowledge. Currently numerous publishers and providers from schoolbooks are offering some of their content free of charge.
Since 18 March 2020, the public TV station ORF 1 has been offering a special education program for students at all school levels. Every morning between 6-9 am the program for pre-school and primary school children is broadcast. Afterward, the three-hour programme “ORF-1-Freistunde” offers an educational programme for students aged 10+. Documentaries, informational segments and explanatory videos are shown, as well as a news format specially designed for this target group. Students can express their questions and needs and contribute with videos and messages. The programs are also offered in the “Mediathek” for the duration of school closings.
Based on the experience of the first two weeks of school closures, the Ministry is taking additional efforts to improve the efficiency of digital learning environment services. Currently the Ministry is working on a concept with guidelines for distance learning and on a concept for a Distance Learning Service Portal as a Single Point of Entry for teachers and school manager.
There are also regional initiatives: The City of Vienna now offers its free “Support 2.0” tutoring initiative for 10-14 year olds online, consisting of additional support in the German, mathematics and English for lower secondary schools. These courses, previously offered kin schools, are now held virtually.
Counseling: School psychologists can be reached by telephone or e-mail. Currently psychological counselling is also available during evening hours and weekends. There are also counselling services (in 23 different languages!) for people who do not speak German.
Assessment: There is no performance assessment at the moment; assessment will most likely continue when students return to school.
As of the announcement on March 18th, 2020, all schools have been closed from March 20th for 2 weeks at the minimum.
The Primary School Examinations scheduled for March 30, 2020 and April 30, 2020 have been suspended. The regional body responsible for CSEC examination for high-school students and CAPE examinations for tertiary level students, namely the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), has put out an updated strategy to cope with school closures. This involves a modified examination process as follows. First, there will be administration of at least one common paper (Multiple Choice Assessments). Second, there will be School Based Assessments (SBAs) and an alternative to SBA for private candidates. Third, final grades will be awarded based on student performance on school based assessments and multiple choice assessments. e-Testing modality (online and offline) will be employed in order to reduce the examination administration processing time to enable quick turn-around time for marking and release of examination results. While the proposed revised administration schedule, previously for the May/June 2020 examinations, has now been updated to July 2020, the CXC will update this date based on guidance from the central government.
In light of region-wide disruptions of the academic term and examinations, CXC is well placed to facilitate continuous learning through the CXC e-Learning Hub. It provides learners and instructors with a single access point to multiple resources and a space for learners, educators, parents and employers to access multiple high-quality resources supporting teaching, learning and assessment. Resources cater to varying learning styles and students can explore written content as well as videos and slideshows. Resources include past papers, interactive syllabuses (including specimen papers and mark schemes), digital toolkits, subject reports and exemplar student responses. Through the CXC Learning Hub, teachers are able to create virtual classrooms where they can interact directly with students, in real time, incorporating content available on the CXC Learning Hub as well as their own content developed to support teaching and learning.
In addition, the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture hosts detailed daily schedules and resources for students from preschool to grade 6 within language and mathematics. Each day’s schedule comes equipped with video lessons of teachers teaching along with lesson plans, questions for parents to ask children, worksheets, assignments, learning activities for younger students involving their family members, as well as further self-paced interactive videos for older students.
The Ministry of Education (MoE) launched the Bhutan e-Learning program. This started on March 27, 2020 allows students from PreK-12 to access lessons through educational television as well as on YouTube. The broadcasting schedules are published on the MoE website.
Some schools in the country are using online tools such Google classrooms and G Suite to continue the learning process from home. The need to reduce data charges increased after Google classrooms became much more widely used due to the closure of schools. Different Telcos, like Bhutan Telecom (BT) and TashiCell, are working with the government to provide additional data for students. The reduction in data charges will be effective for certain educational content and tools. The Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) is providing free data for people in quarantine. The Ministry of Information and Communications is also working with the education ministry and the telecom service providers to facilitate data access for eLearning for students across the country. The main source for accessing the internet is through the mobile phones in Bhutan.
Other schools are using social media applications like Wechat or WhatsApp, where teachers assign students with specific chapters to read and a set of questions to respond to. Students are required to answer the questions and send an image of their answers back to teachers to assess. Schools across the country are also collecting data on the number of students with access to the Internet, smart phones, and television.
The Ministry of Education presented its ‘guidelines for curriculum implementation plan for education in emergency (EiE)’ related to the implementation of e-Learning in school education, roles and responsibility of different stakeholders, early childhood care and development and special education needs, non-formal education, reaching the unreached through print media, and volunteer teachers of Bhutan. UNICEF Bhutan is working with the education ministry to ensure that education continuity is implemented in the current emergency context, through the national broadcaster, Bhutan Broadcasting Service.
The Futura Chanel has some curated content in their YouTube channel.
The states of Amazonas and Pará have launched a strategy relying heavily on the use of educational television (the Brazilian Amazon region has a long tradition on this, dating back to the 1970s). Their content is also available in their YouTube channel, and is complemented with their online platform.
The Ministry of Education and Science launched an e-learning system (starting on March 16, 2020). Publishers provide online textbooks from grades 1-10 for free. Regional educational institutions are supporting 65,000 teachers and over 700,000 students through videos and webinars. School education content is being broadcast through the channels BNT 2 and BNT 4.
Nearly 89% of students are enrolled in e-learning. Each student is enrolled in distance learning six hours a day, including through broadcast lessons on national television channels. Parents assist pedagogical specialists in the implementation of the instructions and tasks set, and support younger children with equipment issues and provide opportunities for their children to watch lessons on Bulgarian national television.
To support distance learning, the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) has developed a National Electronic Library of Teachers (e-Content Repository), which publishes materials of pedagogical specialists for working in e-learning environments, including video lessons, training programs, innovative methodologies, tests, films, exercises, entertaining pedagogy and presentations, as well as projects related to both independence in performing in an electronic environment, as well as with research, student work, curiosity, motivating elements, feedback, group and individual work, creation and the application of a variety of skills.
All schools have been sent accounts to work on the Microsoft Teams platform, which is free of charge. Profiles have been created for all students and teachers. A helpdesk and a phone for questions at the MES are provided.
Each higher education institution independently organizes the distance learning process of its students by using various online platforms and video conferencing software through which distance learning sessions are conducted, as well as other communication channels. Programs such as Office 365, Skype, Blackboard are used. Access and cloud services are being created.
On the website of the Ministry of Education and Science, there is information about a “telephone e-education” service to answer questions and provide suggestions related to the educational process.
The government is updating legislation concerning grading and assessment in order to take into account the distance learning context.
In Chile, the Aptus platform hosts digital learning materials. A team from the Chilean Ministry of Education has made this content available to other countries in the region to deal with the closure of schools. Some of these materials include free class videos produced in Chile for children from ages 4-13 years (especially useful for teaching literacy).
The following information is excerpted from the very useful UNESCO article, How is China ensuring learning when classes are disrupted by coronavirus?
On February 9, nearly 200 million primary and secondary school students in China started their new semester – online. With all schools closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the country embarked on what might amount to the largest simultaneous online learning exercise in human history. The Ministry of Education launched an initiative entitled “Ensuring learning undisrupted when classes are disrupted.” Over the course of two weeks, with all face-to-face meetings banned, the Ministry organized teleconferences with school management agencies, online platform and course providers, telecom providers and other stakeholders to plan the implementation of the initiative.
To enable this, the Ministry of Education partnered with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in order to:
- Mobilize all major telecom service providers to boost internet connectivity service for online education, especially for the under-served regions.
- Upgrade the bandwidth of major online education service platforms, especially the capacity of the National Cloud-Platform for Educational Resources and Public Service in serving millions of visitors simultaneously.
- Mobilize society-wide resources for the provision of online courses and resources. More than 24,000 online courses have been made accessible for university students. 22 validated online course platforms, most them empowered by Artificial Intelligence, have been mobilized to provide primary and secondary schools with free online courses.
- Adopt flexible and appropriate methodologies to facilitate learning. Schools and teachers are advised to choose appropriate modes of delivery based on local e-readiness, including online platforms, digitalized TVs or mobile Apps. Teachers have received guidance on teaching methodologies including through live-streaming of online tutorials and MOOCs. The recommended number of online learning hours varies by grade.
- Strengthen online security through collaboration with the telecom sector and online platform service providers.
- Provision of psycho-social support and courses to impart knowledge about the virus and protection against it.
In Colombia, the preventive quarantine started the week of March 16, 2020, and the academic calendar was adjusted as a result. For the first two weeks, teachers were given time to prepare a pedagogical plan, in order to develop and create activities and tasks for the students, classes restarted ‘at a distance’ on March 20, 2020, with attention to two realities. Families with Internet access and technology resources have access to “aprender digital“, a platform of the Ministry of Education with more than 80,000 digital learning resources, organized by grades, in different modalities (games, videos, etc.), accessible by for teachers, principals, and other actors, covering pre-primary to middle school education. For families who don’t have access to the Internet, the government is designing a kit to learn from home (“kit de aprendizaje en casa”), also organized by grade, integrating different types of resources (games, self-learning resources, family activities, art, etc.). This aims to be built by April 20, 2020. Colombia will roll out a strategy for those families in zones with no connectivity and where the large distances don’t allow other ways of learning.
Colombia has begun broadcasting educational programs on both public radio and television for students from primary to middle school across the country, in coordination with teachers and educational institutions.
Additional information is available from the ICT Ministry.
Costa Rica has a central website that hosts digital learning resources and information for educators and is developing a strategy to more explicitly support ‘learning at home’ as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Recognizing the importance of television, as not all families have Internet access, they are using public media to broadcast educational programs (for students, parents, and teachers) about different subjects. Virtual content for teachers (a virtual classroom, a guide for autonomous work, etc.) is also being developed. They are planning on distributing this in hard copy formats for families with no Internet access. Recognizing the need to protect students learning online, they are also working on creating content related to cybersecurity for young people.
Organisation of distance teaching and learning in Croatia (chart and guidelines in English)
For grades 1-4 of primary school, classes are being organized via public television TV: actual teachers are filmed holding classes, given the lack of pre-existing content. Teachers send additional exercises for students to parents. Given their age, is is not expected that these children do use the Internet directly themselves, but rather they communicate with their teachers via their parents. For children aged 6-10, no special resources have been foreseen, since classes are delivered via TV and teachers communicate with parents via phone.
For grades 5-8 of primary school and for secondary school, video lessons are being filmed for every day, 15 minutes per subject, according to the national schedule. In case the situation lasts until the end of the school year, this would enable pupils to achieve all of the learning outcomes defined in the curricula. This national schedule foresees approximately 5 hours of schoolwork a day, but schools can add extra hours for their pupils. Video lessons are available both via TV and online. In addition, each school has organized a virtual teachers’ room and virtual classrooms on various platforms (Loomen, Microsoft Teams, Yammer) where teachers communicate daily with their pupils, give them instructions, check their activity and completion of tasks.
Telecommunications companies are also providing free Internet access (via SIM cards) to pupils of lower socio-economic status.
For higher education, the Ministry has issued a note directing higher education institutions to organize online classes by themselves, with central support, including an LMS.
A helpdesk was set up by public agencies to provided help for users. All communication channels were set up in three days, with some initial problems related to network congestion and breakdowns, since resolved.
For children with special needs and disabilities, the Ministry made a recommendation to pedagogical staff at schools to design online classes adapted to such children.
The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport (MEYS) launched on March 12 the website “Distance Education”, which supports schools and teachers in providing distance education. This website contains links to online educational tools, updated information and examples of good practices, as well as experiences regarding distance education.
The Czech national TV broadcasts educational programming for pupils under the expert supervision of MEYS. On March 16, they set up and launched a live daily program, “UčíTelka”, led by teachers for primary-school pupils (grades 1-5). In the afternoon, educational TV programs are provided for lower-secondary pupils (grades 6-9). In addition, “inspirational programs” for pupils to prepare themselves for upper secondary entrance examinations (grade 9) are provided to help review topics covered in lower classes.
The Dominican Republic has created a central portal containing curated content, classified by grade. It is not only for use by public sector schools. Resources include a content repository, platforms for students and teachers, and a platform for secondary education.
They are using radio and TV to support learning at home and are preparing additional content.
Several companies have stepped up to disseminate learning content and related information.
They are also creating free wifi hotspots for learners and also supporting the creation of WhatsApp groups to provide additional support.
Ecuador is proceeding along two tracks while schools are closed: one for students with connectivity and one for students without connectivity. Work done remotely by students will not be graded.
Ecuador is developing a guide for teachers, who are being asked to engage continuously and continue with professional development activities (using Moodle, for example). More than 800 digital pedagogical resources are being shared using social media as well as via traditional media coverage such as radio and television. Materials are also available in audio format in order to reach remote areas. It has created a video tutorial explaining how to use educational resource websites and is working on producing videos for the younger kids as well. Ecuador has created a dedicated email address and a telephone number to answer questions. Virtual classrooms are being developed at the higher education level. Education television broadcasts have begun as well.
The Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MOETE) announced steps to implement distance learning and assessment during school suspension that began on March 15.
MOETE extended the access to the Egyptian Knowledge Bank (EKB) to students, providing content by grade level and subject (kindergarten through secondary education). Content is available in both Arabic and English to all students, parents and teachers (does not username/password). This site features multimedia (videos, images, documentary films) to help explain the various lessons, and numerous full text books, including dictionaries. The EKB can be accessed by mobile phone or computer.
A digital platform offers a communication channel between students and teachers to enable approximately 22 million students distributed over nearly 55,000 schools to communicate with teachers “as if they were present in the school”, explaining lessons, answering student questions, and taking exams online. Videos explaining how to do this are being developed. Students will receive a code from their teachers to enter a virtual class to continue electronically.
There is an arrangement with the Ministry of Communication and IT and mobile carriers to make available SIM cards at no cost to students if they have a device.
Assessment: For students at KG1-2 and grades 1-2, MOETE requires parents to make sure students complete the curriculum published on the electronic library and the platform. For grades 3-7 (transition years), exams will not be conducted for students at the end of the current school year. Instead, a research project for each subject will be completed on the electronic platform. For grades 10-11, students will take computer-based pilot tests from home using supplied tablets. The pilot test will be conducted (without grades) for grade 11 as a final rehearsal to prepare students for the year-end exam. Tests will not be corrected but will offer students the correct answer to self-adjust. The grade 10 and 11 final exam will be computer-based from home.
Egyptian students abroad will use the electronic platform and digital library. Examinations will not be taken.
In El Salvador, teachers and principals were organized to give guidance to parents by grade. In the case of secondary education, parents are to serve as ‘self-learning guides’, assisting students as they look for different educational tools.
A virtual platform is being used to organize learning materials, which are gradually enriched over time. At each grade level, an entire repository of information is included, divided by subjects. Materials in various formats, including videos, are being developed, and teachers are creating and posting content to YouTube. Educational television is also being utilized.
A call center, staffed by five people, accompanied by six subject-area specialists, responds to related questions around the clock. WhatsApp and email are also being used to enable consultations and support.
The Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts of Fiji has initiated supplementary radio programmes for students out-of-school. These education radio programmes will be delivered through the Schools Broadcasting Unit and the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation. The daily programmes will be aired exclusively weekdays on the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation’s RF One and RF Two radio stations during the two week school closure period from April 6 to April 17th, 2020. This programming covers literacy and numeracy for grades 1-8 as well as early childhood education. The radio broadcasting schedule is available on the Ministry website. The Ministry website also hosts a large selection of digital learning resources for grades 1 – 13 for all subject areas.
An online portal, Ma classe à la maison (My class at home) provides access to educational content and learning opportunities.
The Ministry of Education is developing an online learning platform with Microsoft at the general education level.
An agreement has been reached to with a television channel to provide access online lessons and educational programs.
The Ministry of Education has put in place three key interventions to support the continuity of learning during COVID-19. First, practice test papers to support grade six students are available on the Ministry’s website for students in coastal and hinterland regions with Internet connectivity. Students without connectivity in the hinterland regions will benefit from the distribution of compiled worksheets. Second, students can tune into the television learning channel to access educational programs at designated times for students. Third, education lessons through interactive radio instruction (IRI) have been put in place for grades 1-3, and broadcast to schools catering to grades 3 -6 radio listeners.
The Ministry’s website offers digital resources for students categorized by grade and subject. It also provides teachers and parents with resources to navigate the school closure period.
In a press release put out by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) on March 21, 2020, the Union HRD Minister shared various free digital e-Learning platforms by the Ministry of HRD that students capitalize on to continue their learning during COVID-19 based school closures.
The DIKSHA portal contains e-Learning content for students, teachers, and parents aligned to the curriculum, including video lessons, worksheets, textbooks and assessments. Under the guidance of its national board of education (CBSE) and NCERT, the content has been created by more than 250 teachers who teach in multiple languages. QR codes in textbooks encourage students to go beyond the book. The app is available to use offline.
e-Pathshala is an e-Learning app by NCERT for classes 1 to 12 in multiple languages. The app houses books, videos, audio, etc. aimed at students, educators and parents in multiple languages including Hindi, Urdu, and English.
The National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) portal provides a host of resources for students and teachers in multiple languages including books, interactive modules and videos including a host of STEM-based games. Content is mapped to the curriculum for classes 1 – 12, including aligned resources for teachers.
Swayam hosts 1900 complete courses, including teaching videos, weekly assignments, exams and credit transfers, aimed both at school (class 9 to 12) and higher education (undergraduate and postgraduate) levels. Subjects are aligned to the curriculum and include engineering, humanities, social sciences, law and management courses including robotics.
Swayam Prabha is a group of 32 Direct To Home (DTH) channels devoted to telecasting of educational programs round the clock and accessible all across the country. The channels air courses for school education (class 9-12), higher education (undergraduate, postgraduate) as well as for out-of-school children, vocational education and teacher training. Subjects include arts, science, commerce, performing arts, social sciences, humanities, engineering, technology, law, medicine, and agriculture. Schedules for the television broadcast as well as archived programs are available on the website.
The Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) announced the cancellation of the national exams due to the COVID-19 pandemic and clarified that this would not affect graduation or enrollment at junior school, high school or tertiary education. For high school and tertiary education, graduation will depend instead on the aggregate performance of students based on the previous five semesters. Final exams for junior classes would be replaced by online tests, home assignments and/or decided based on the student’s portfolio and previous school performance.
TV Edukasi, or Televisi Pendidikan Indonesia (Education TV, formerly TVE), is an educational television station owned by the MoEC and started in 2004. Currently, TV Edukasi has two channels airing live education programs, one for students and the other for teachers. The channel’s website also live-streams the television broadcast as well as houses on-demand e-content. Rumah Belajar, which translates to ‘Learning House’, is another portal by the Ministry that provides on-demand learning resources as well as communication facilities to teachers and students, ranging from Early Childhood Development levels to high school level, as well as vocational education levels. Specifically, it provides a learning management system as well as digital lessons, electronic textbooks and practice assessment tools aligned to the curriculum.
Another government initiative in tertiary education, the Online Learning System Program (SPADA), supports Learning Management Systems (LMSs) across all tertiary education institutions that are connected to it. It has been made freely available to all tertiary education students who can now access online lectures and course material from any college connected to SPADA as well as open lectures and resources that it hosts.
Ten technology providers have been organized by the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) to provide free access to online learning, including Ruangguru and Zenius. Other technology-based learning platforms being used in the country to help the students include Google Suite Education, Smart Class, Microsoft Teams, Quipper School, Sekolahmu and Kelas Pintar.
The Italian government created a web site to support schools to activate different forms of distance learning during the closure period linked to the coronavirus emergency. The links of the various sections of the following page allow users to reach and use the platforms and tools made available to educational institutions free of charge thanks to specific protocols signed by the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has put in place support initiatives targeted at all levels of the education system to the end of April 2020, with the possibility of further extension if required. This support includes several services for students, including: printing service and printed learning kits for students without Internet connection; educational television lessons and rebroadcasts accessible on 25 cable channels (eg. “School’s not OUT” on TJ Live channel); zero-rated data access to the MoEYI website which houses educational content and online exam (PEP) workbooks; PEP hotlines; learning content composed by the Early Childhood Commission for children aged 0-5 years; school-based initiatives using Google Suite, Schoology, Edmodo, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, etc. are in place and supported by the Education Officers; partnerships with Internet service providers to enable online learning on subsidized data plans as well as zero-rated learning websites; subsidized data plans provided by Digicel that are benefiting teachers; and digital learning resources available on open online platforms (eg. One on One Educational Services, Cheetah, Book Fusion, Edufocal, the Learning Hub, CSEC COVID-19 Toolkit, etc.)
The National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) has put in place several initiatives to support parents. First, parental advice on creating structure as well as safe and supportive learning spaces at home have been sent out to schools to be shared with parents. Second, psychosocial support helplines have been set up to support parents in an effort fuelled by public-private partnerships between VMBS Foundation, Fight for Peace and UNICEF. The NPSC will establish helplines in all churches for relevant localized support and response. The phones were purchased by VMBS Foundation. All volunteers are trained in psychosocial first aid by Fight for Peace. Third, successful negotiations with Digicel means free SIM cards are being made available for parents. UNICEF is paying for the calling credit and data for the phones. Fourth, five short videos have been launched on April 3, 2020, to support parents with home-schooling. Research shows that abuse of children escalates as their frustration levels increase when parents try to help with school work. NPSC developed these in partnership with renowned psychologists to ensure the scripts are based on research findings.
The Ministry is also actively seeking out feedback and acting on it rapidly to improve teaching and learning. For example, based on feedback from the regions, teachers at the early childhood to secondary levels are in need of training for developing and managing online learning environments. Thus, modules are being developed collaboratively (with eLJam, JTC, ECC, CSS, and NCEL) to support teachers and school leaders.
In an effort to support continued development, the National College for Educational Leadership, an initiative of the Ministry of Education, has created seven comprehensive short videos with tips for effective back-to-school planning and preparation. School leaders and administrators have been provided online training courses related to COVID-19 and leadership. These include curriculum implementation, vision setting, teacher leadership, emotional intelligence in leadership, and partnership and stakeholder engagement.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has a centralized website that synthesizes all information related to COVID19 response, including diverse coping strategies that schools have undertaken. School districts and schools have employed different coping strategies. While many of them are ICT-based distance learning (e.g., online-class delivery, video-conferences, groupware based instructions), there are also many initiatives that maximize the usage of school grounds and facilities in a safe and healthy manner.
The Ministry of Education will be providing a daily schedule of the TV broadcast (on the sports channel) in Jordan of the lessons for the tawjihi. Lessons will be broadcast twice, once in the morning/early afternoon, and again in the afternoon/evening. Lessons are Arabic (all streams), computers (all streams), English (all streams), physics (industrial stream), mathematics (science stream), mathematics (other streams), history (literary stream), Arabic (literary and shariah streams), Jordanian history (all streams), and financial literacy (literary stream).
The Darsak educational portal launched on March 22, developed by Mawdoo3 (private sector firm). The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Digital Economy an Entrepreneurship) managed the whole process. Edraak, Jo Academy and Abwab also provided content. Includes classes/subjects for all grades. The content will be displayed on the platform according to a weekly schedule so that the displayed content remains available for one week only, then the content of the next week is displayed, and so on. The student can enter the materials at any time, with free (zero rated) browsing of the platform between 6 am and 4 pm.
The Ministry of Education shared guidelines for enhancing teaching and learning for its 15 million students out of school as a result of school closures. From March 23, 2020, four main platforms are being used for delivering educational programs and resources to learners. First, in partnership with the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), radio programs are being broadcast on all weekdays on multiple radio channels including Radio Taifa, Iftini FM, etc. Second, education television broadcasts have begun on the Edu Channel TV owned by Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development (KICD). Broadcasting schedules for television and radio are available on its website. Third, this television programming is made available as live stream as well as on-demand content via KICD’s EduTV Kenya YouTube channel. Fourth, learners can also access digital learning resources from the Kenya Education Cloud hosted and curated by KICD. In partnership with the Kenya Publishers Association, electronic copies of textbooks have been made available for free on the Kenya Education Cloud for all students.
In order to provide wider internet coverage to all students and families, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in partnership with Alphabet Inc. and Telkom Kenya, has been having Google’s Loon Balloons floating over Kenyan airspace carrying 4G base stations. Loon is a network of stratospheric balloons that provide internet connectivity to rural and remote communities. “The high-altitude balloons in the stratosphere create an aerial wireless network with up to 4G-LTE speeds. Users connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building.” A single balloon can provide internet connectivity across an 80km diameter area.
Safaricom, a private mobile network operator, has partnered with Eneza Education, Longhorn Publishers and Viusasa to support primary and secondary school students with free access to educational e-content. For Eneza Education, the daily subscription fee to its ‘Shupavu291’ platform (available on mobile phones and web) has been waived for a 60-day period. In addition, learners will also be able to access up to 250MB of education content for free for 60 days on Shupavu Web (Eneza Education), Viusasa E-learning (available in Kiswahili and English) and the Longhorn E-learning portal per day through the Safaricom network.
The Korean government and the Ministry of Education (MoE) delayed the national start date of the 2020 spring semester from March to April 2020. The MoE has invested USD $250 million to address the impact of COVID-19 on education. This is about a 4% increase from the total education budget in 2020. The emergency budget will be used for supporting online education platforms, zero-rating public education websites, expanding after school day-care services, purchasing necessary health equipment for teachers and students, etc.
Government is supporting the cost of network operators zero-rating educational websites for all students until the end of May. This is applicable for the Korean Education Broadcasting System (EBS) and all public educational services and systems provided by the Korea Education & Research Information Service (KERIS). While EBS provides most of its online contents in video format, KERIS provides digital textbook services (for social studies, math, and science for grades 3-9). It also provides online teaching-learning platforms such as Wedorang and e-Hakseupteo cyberlearning services, where teachers can set up an online classroom and post online assignments, surveys, and group instant messaging services for open class discussions as well as track student learning progress. Students can get free access to zero-rated websites by applying through one of the 3 major Telcoms (SKT, KT and LGU+).
The availability of free online courses will expand to middle- and high-school students; the course catalog will be broadened to include the curriculum in foreign languages and humanities provided by the Korean EBS, which is currently available for the core curriculum subjects only. The Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), in collaboration with the MoE and the Ministry of Women and Family, is creating new online learning websites for science experiments in 3D and software coding education.
Beginning March 1, 2020, Kuwait ordered the closure of all its schools, universities and military colleges. To support remote learning during this period of school closures, the Ministry of Education is leveraging the Kuwait Educational channel that provides lessons for school-aged students across a range of subjects.
Video lessons for primary and secondary schools’ key subjects and topics for the remaining learning period are under development and expected to be broadcast through two TV channels starting in April. The video lessons will also be available for free through a mobile app.
Free access is being provided to websites with educational content.
Students and teachers will be provided by SIM-cards for free access to the education app, education web pages and to use WhatsApp for free communication.
The Ministry of Education and Science announced a campaign, “Reading Family”, through Facebook. Parents read and discuss books together with their children, post information on Facebook with hashtag #uido_kitep_okuibuz and pass on a baton to their friends via social networks. The most active families will be given gifts and nominated with the title “Akurman Uy-buloo” (“Erudite Family”).
A free mobile application, “Matriculant RG”, has been launched for students and teachers of grades 9-11 for remote training on admission tests (ORT). The app includes samples of admission tests to Russian universities.
CEATM (a private testing company) launched online lessons on preparation for admission tests.
Orange Liberia announced that it is granting free access to online educational content to students and teachers while all schools and universities are closed via website called Orange Campus Africa. Orange customers who don’t have data will still be able to visit the web site and enjoy educational materials provided, and those who have data can also visit the website and none of their data balance will be consumed while they browse, read or study from the site. The web site includes a host of resource partners including Khan Academy. Other content providers include Wikibooks, Wiktionary, and Wikipedia. While each of these providers has a range of content for all ages, there is also specific content for younger children, including Vikidia which caters to children between the ages of 8 – 1. Project Gutenberg, a volunteer based effort to digitize and archive cultural works, is one of the sites included in the program.
Liberia began an educational radio program on March 27.
The education ministry struck a deal with local television stations to broadcast “compulsory” lessons for middle and secondary schoolchildren.
Madagascar has launched educational television and radio instruction to support remote learning for students out-of-school.
The education television program is continuously being developed and broadcast. Mathematics lessons are presented in French and aimed at primary school students using Teaching At the Right Level (TARL) methodology to increase impact of the lessons. The live broadcast is also hosted on the YouTube channel ‘RTA Official’ so that it can be used as on-demand content as well. These lessons are supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The Ministry of National Education and Technical and Vocational Education is also using a recruitment drive to hire more designers to rapidly increase the production of educational content for all Malagasy students.
Educational radio programming is aimed at teaching Malagasy to students in Grade 1 and 2 and is supported by UNICEF. The radio programs are also shared on the WeTransfer platform.
A new TV channel called TV Okey from the public broadcaster Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) was launched on April 6, 2020 to deliver education television programs to all students, especially those without Internet access. The television and radio programs will also be live-streamed on the RTM website. To begin with, programs will be aired for 2 hours a day and will also be available on MyFreeview TV, Astro and Astro NJOI. Broadcasting schedules are available on the website of its Ministry of Education as well as on RTM’s website.
EduwebTV (previously called TV Pendidikan), the online learning platform of the Ministry of Education, also hosts on-demand content for students across Pre-Kindergarten to secondary school as well as digital textbooks.
The Ministry of Education has instructed schools to identify students who do not have access to either television or internet services and is currently engaged in research into alternative teaching methods to ensure the education of students go uninterrupted. It is also preparing a scheme to teach students at all educational levels online, which will be implemented in the event the opening of schools is postponed further. A tele-class program was launched on PSM’s Yes TV for 10th graders. However, some students in the atolls do not have access to television or internet services, cutting off their access to such classes.
Education Ministry is also working on holding classes through radio channels, and has already initiated discussions regarding airing tele-classes with Dhiraagu through is broadcasting channel. The scheme is targeted for students below the tenth grade. Under the scheme, the digital resources needed to teach the students will be prepared and developed. The resources will be shared with students via the education portal and online. The resources will be issued separately for each subject. After the government closed all schools, the Education Ministry introduced a new TV program named ‘Telekilaas’ to deliver lessons to tenth grade students preparing to sit the O’level exams this year. The program will be aired on state media ‘Public Service Media’ (PSM) and Yes TV from 8 am in the morning until 2 pm every day. The timetable for each day will be published on the Education Ministry’s social media handles the previous day. Lessons will be carried out by Public Service Media (PSM)’s ‘YES TV’, Google Classroom, Youtube and ‘TED-Ed’. The government is also working towards launching its educational platform, ‘Filaa’. Pre-recorded videos are to air from approximately 8 am to 1 pm every weekday, after which a live interaction session called ‘Subject Forum’ will be conducted between students and teachers for one hour.
Mexico is capitalizing on its long-standing experience with educational television to provide remote learning opportunities to students. The government has been using Telesecundaria since 1968 to provide secondary education to students in rural areas through broadcast television channels. Currently, the website of Televisión Educativa, the national educational television network, provides access to different channels that broadcast educational television across Mexico (Telesecundaria, Telesecundaria+, Ingenio TV, Aprende TV, Telebachillerato and Capacita TV) along with broadcast schedules for the same. Within the Televisión Educativa platform, the government is also dedicated to supporting teacher training under the ‘formacion y capacitacion digitales’ program. This translates to supporting teachers with ‘digital education and training’ using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), online nano courses and online conferences. Certification is provided to teachers who successfully complete these courses.
To supplement television programming for students, digital copies of all textbooks across all subjects and levels of education have been made freely available on the Government of Mexico website in text as well as Braille format.
The newer “@prende2.0” online platform called ‘Aprende 2.0’ provides digital learning resources for students, teachers and families categorized into audio, video, text and interactive formats. For students, learning material and courses aligned to the curriculum are available along with a special section devoted to supporting students with disabilities as well as digital skills. Teachers are supported with ICT tools and courses for professional development as well as learning communities and other support material including a section on good teaching practices.
Studii.md is being used in Moldova as a platform to connect students, teachers and parents to online education and is already being used by several educational institutions in Moldova. It was developed by Simpals, with the support of the United Nations Development Program and TEKWILL, in order to digitize the educational process. The platform combines different tools and features: electronic agenda, electronic register, lesson schedule, performance analysis, as well as information about students and a library, in which all the educational materials are stored. The platform is adapted for access from any operating system (iOS or Windows) can also be accessed from mobile devices. 25 schools are already using this platform, while 88 educational institutions have requested to be connected. In 40 schools, the registration of students and the collection of necessary data has started. All in all, almost 32,000 users are registered in the system, including almost 14,000 students, roughly 17,000 parents and more than 1000 teachers.
The Ministry of Education has been broadcasting lessons on TV since February. For every class and subject through secondary school. The Ministry is making all of these lessons available online.
The government has decided that learning will happen online. The government put together some content in order to help students with their remote learning. Key resources include a digital learning content repository (in Arabic and French) for primary, secondary and baccalaureate levels, as well as other materials.
The national channel 4 is broadcasting educational classes.
A MOOC platform (mainly in French) serves university level learners. They have uploaded a content repository from universities of Morocco.
The Federal Ministry of Education and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) have set up a Task Team responsible for a coordinated education response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide guidance, information, and resources to support students across Nigeria’s 36 States and Federal Capital Territory to continue their education and individualize their learning at home. The task force has a dedicated webpage within the FME’s website and aims to provide real-time guidance on learning resources and support for monitoring children at home.
The Task Team has developed a ‘Learn at Home Programme’. The programme webpage is constantly updated to reflect the status of implementation of the LHP; online resources and options available for equity in teaching and learning; advice on channels that may be used by states; and systems for tracking and monitoring of resources made available for this purpose. FME and UBEC, in collaboration with National and State governments, aim to provide context-appropriate resources that allow students, teachers, and schools to capitalise on home-based learning. These resources may include homework assignments, reading material, radio, television, online content, and online learning.
The Task Team has set forth a three-tier plan guided by each of the three plausible scenarios: Scenario 1 where schools are closed for one month; Scenario 2 where schools are closed for one to three months; and Scenario 3 where schools are closed for an extended period of more than three months.
To support learning, the digital learning resources shared by the Task Team fall under three categories. First, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) e-Learning portal provides resources to support students to better prepare for examinations. Second, a partnership has been struck with the Mobile Classroom App to open up its lessons and resources to all students at no cost during the school closure period. Third, a partnership with School Gate allows all primary school students to access its courses for free during this period.
The Ministry of Education in cooperation with UNICEF, donors and private companies has made distance learning opportunities available to students.
The TV-Classroom is a collaboration between the Ministry, the Bureau for the Development of Education, UNICEF, children’s television producers OXO and its national broadcaster, Macedonian Radio and Television and provides educational programs for younger children. It is a half-day program, supported by the volunteer teachers who are demonstrating a whole range of activities that parents and teachers can use to ease stress, including exercise routines, with classes running in all five of languages of instruction used in North Macedonia: Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Serbian and Bosnian. Many of the teachers that the children see on their TV screens are already part of a UNICEF and UK Government-funded program to introduce social-emotional learning in pre-schools, which aims to help children cope with stress and trauma, manage their emotions and develop skill such as empathy, resilience, kindness, and self-confidence.
Eduino, a new digital platform with teacher video classes and play-based learning activities, provides teachers with tools to support distance learning for children temporarily out of school due to COVID-19. The platform is part of the Bureau for Development of Education resources to provide curriculum support and teacher professional development beyond the temporary school closures. The material currently uploaded focuses on material that needs to be covered during the remaining school year.
For the secondary education students, the Ministry provided some general guidelines but it is up to each school to organize on-line learning and support to the students. The State Matura, an important set of internal and external school examinations, have been postponed but the Ministry did not provide more details.
For the Higher Education institutions, the law was amended to allow for distance learning and online examinations providing that high education institutions can apply appropriate technical solutions to ensure students’ identification and can monitor the behavior and work of the students during the examinations.
The government signed an agreement with Microsoft to cover the e-learning needs of 60,000 teachers and 1,200,000 students at zero cost.
The government is using different channels to distribute learning content: the Internet, television, and radio.
Mobile phones are being used to share related information about the Aprendo en Case initiative. Text messages (SMS) have been sent to teachers, parents and school principals. A WhatsApp number has been created to answer related questions.
The Ministry of Education is curating digital content (its own content as well as content from allies and partners) and supporting the creation of new content, in order to have content that aligns with all of the curricula.
In the first stage, the Ministry is sensitizing the population, raising awareness, and working on different topics with families. In the second stage, the Ministry has begun to focus on distance learning, prioritizing its “plataforma unica” (single learning platform).
Curated content is being made available on national radio and television. The Ministry is working with local radio channels to broadcast the education content in local languages.
Educational videos are being created for access via dedicated apps and on its website. This content is also being made available in audio format for radio transmission.
Online platforms such as Russian online school, Yandex.textbook, Teach.ru and Yaklass are available for teachers, pupils, and parents. Russian IT companies are also supporting the Russian education system. For example, Mail.ru provides access to its platform for online learning, Yandex provides video classes for schoolchildren in grades 5-11, and GeekBrains gives free access to its programming courses.
The Ministry of Education has put out guidelines for the implementation of distance learning technologies across all levels of education. It has also launched a hotline to support regional ministries, schools, and tertiary education institutions in organizing distance learning. Guidance has also been provided, with special guidance for educational leaders and staff, for how to cope with the pandemic at a psychological level.
A working group in the Ministry of Science and Higher Education was established to help the higher education institutions to organize distance learning. By now, all the universities, which report to the federal ministry (248), and almost 70% of all the Russian universities have transferred the educational process online, which was launched on Instagram. Using the Instagram hashtag #универдома (“uni at home”), students and university staff are sharing their ideas in adapting to a new online learning environment.
The Ministry holds regular online translation on the Ministry’s YouTube channel and organizes webinars for universities. The Ministry has also launched a hotline and a website for universities (“Keep learning, Keep teaching”) with methodological support and has published a list of available free online courses on its website. The University 2035 (the online platform established by the Agency of Strategic Initiatives) will also provide methodological support to universities. Universities are sharing their experience in the moving educational process online on the Scienpolicy Telegram channel. The Ministry is currently piloting a new service for school graduates so that they can apply to the university programs online, using the state portal Gosuslugi.
The Rwanda Education Board (REB) has taken steps to support students with remote learning. It has begun broadcasting education radio programs as of April 4, 2020, which are also available on its district-level radio stations such as Huye, Musanze, Rubavu, Nyagatare, Rusizi, as well as the Parliament station. Broadcasts are aired on all weekdays for 6 hours. The broadcasting began with literacy lessons for primary grade students on Radio Rwanda. It has also launched a new YouTube channel called REB elearning with on-demand content for students. While it currently provides lessons in English language, elementary science and advanced sciences such as chemistry, mathematics and biology among others, the REB is working on constantly adding more learning content to the YouTube channel. The platform also aims to facilitate peer learning among teachers.
REB has also revamped its online learning websites to provide more diverse support. It has separate websites to support remote learning for school education and teachers, for tertiary education and vocational education. The school eLearning platform allows teachers and students to communicate in support of the teaching and learning process. It offers digital resources for students including lessons, activities, textbooks, assessments as well as career guidance. It provides tools for professional development for teachers, master trainers, school leaders and school management with a focus on digital skills. It also serves as a communication channel for parents with schools and teachers.
REB has also partnered with local telecommunication companies like MTN Rwanda and Airtel to waive Internet fees for students to ease their access to these e-learning portals, a practice called zero-rating.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) is utilizing TV and social media to broadcast lessons for all grades and have designated 127 supervisors and teachers to deliver daily lessons in 112 educational subjects through 19 TV channels (broadcasting nationally from a classroom in Riyadh).
Students are offered five options by the ministry for virtual learning.
Telkom ZA has zero rated education websites to provide cost free access to learners.
The Ministry of General Education and Instruction has partnered with Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS) and its partners to ensure students continue to learn during the period of school closures. The programme will support students, teachers, education managers and practitioners with remote teaching and learning as well as helping with recovery efforts so that schools can reopen safely after the pandemic. GSES proposes using radio and other approaches like SMS to support remote teaching and learning since radio is the most widely used media source in the country. South Sudan does not have the hardware or connectivity to scale up online learning for all students. These distance learning approaches will also support teachers to maintain and build their skills through remote training packages.
The Tunisia-based Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) launched an e-learning initiative on March 12 that aims to ensure the continuity of learning and teaching during the coronavirus pandemic. ALECSO has prepared a dedicated website aggregating a list of freely accessible Arab educational resources, websites, platforms and applications for use by students and teachers, in collaboration with partners and experts in the field of educational technology. Ten North African and 12 Arab countries are to benefit from this initiative.
Education in Turkey is conducted remotely using EBA (Eğitim Bilişim Ağı), an education digital platform. The CEO of Turk Telekom noted that 18 million students can use EBA; however, not everyone has online access. The Ministry of National Education (MoNE) is reviewing options to support families with extra 6 GB – 8 GB data packages.
Educational TV is also being utilized to mitigate Internet access and bandwidth problems. EBA programs adapted for TV during COVID-19. Seven TV companies are broadcasting EBA programs. Primary school, middle school and high school education programs are being broadcast in 18 different channels, with six different channels assigned to each education level. The EBA TV Programs are shorter than the actual class length. Thousands of videos and animations have been prepared. More than 100 teachers voluntarily taped their courses for TV. MoNE is working to to better review/vet available distance education materials.
The EBA program has apps accessible through smart phones.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The UAE government says that says it can offer a free education to 50 million Arab schoolchildren with its digital teaching platform, madrasa.org.
The National Administration of Public Education (ANEP), together with Plan Ceibal, has created a virtual classroom so that children can carry out activities during these days and the exchange between the teacher and the student is encouraged. Families are encouraged to accompany their children to use it during the suspension of classes.
Plan Ceibal makes available to teachers a series of resources that can help sustain educational activity and will provide options for distance programs.
The CREA Platform (LMS) for classroom management features content from each class. Each teacher can upload materials, guide discussion forums, submit and grade assignments, track students, take various types of assessments and use them as a means of communication.
All the curricular contents of mathematics from Initial 5 to 3 of Education Media are available on the math platforms (PAM and Matific). A digital library (Biblioteca Ceibal) provides access to more than 7,000 contents, including textbooks, recreational reading, audio stories, videos, songs, and images. A repository of Open Educational Resources (REA) contains the content of various subjects. More than 50 educational applications included in student tablets, with content for students from grades 1-3 at the primary level.
Web platforms support videoconferencing to transmit video in bulk through the Internet (streaming), with the possibility to receive and answer questions or comments by chat and for teachers to interact by video with all the members of a class.
WEST BANK and GAZA
To serve the students affected by school closures, the Ministry of Education is turning to distance learning (E-learning), with lessons to be broadcast via Youtube, radio, and television for students.
Activating the work intensively through the portal of the electronic communication environment, which serves. An educational portal connects students and parents with teachers and school management at all educational stages, from grades 1-12.
An educational portal accessed through the Ministry website contains a variety of educational materials, interactive educational games, and a link to the central YouTube channel.
Initiatives have been worked out with private start-ups to implement and experience online virtual classroom management of several schools, starting from Bethlehem District, and broadcast by teachers through an educational portal called Tollabco Students.
For the Tawjihi Students, Palestine TV and Al Quds Educational TV were contracted through the Ministry to broadcast educational classes for students.
This crisis has motivated teachers and they started to made distance learning groups, taking advantage of various websites, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Google Forms.
For higher education, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has asked all universities to conduct classes online beginning on March 14. Universities are using different strategies, such as blended learning, e-classes, and virtual classrooms. Applications such as Zoom and Google Hangouts are being deployed. Some universities have created an emergency plan to implement distance learning, starting with a format that will gather students into a virtual classroom using an online tool twice or three times a week, then, give students a week off to work on homework assignments and projects.
A weekly educational TV broadcast schedule, with only two subjects provided daily, each subject shown four times (twice on Palestinian TV and twice through the website of the Al Quds Open University, a Palestinian university that has provided blended education since the 1990s). The subjects are English, Arabic, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics.2