Scanning the headlines on the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on education in China and around the world

This week, IEN provides a short overview of a few articles in the Chinese media discussing the outbreak of the Coronavirus as well as a quick scan of headlines discussing the outbreak’s impact on education in many parts of the world.

The coronavirus broke out in China while students were on break for their winter holiday, and most students were still at home when the situation began to get serious. Due to the on-going spread, the Chinese government postponed the date for returning to school until late February. But in late January, as Sixth Tone reported, China’s education ministry “ordered institutions to continue administering coursework online. Daily activities including flag-raising ceremonies, roll calls, and lectures are now conducted virtually.” As a consequence, “millions of Chinese students are starting a new school term not in their classrooms, but in front of their computers.” In some cases, teachers are making recordings to share online, while in others teachers are live-streaming their lectures/classes online. Xinhuanet profiled one math teacher, Zhang Sheng, who described his routines for live-streaming, recording videos, and homework. “’This has doubled my workload, but if it makes my students happy, I will do it,’” Zhang was quoted as saying.

Some see this as a big opportunity for online education in China while others see potential problems since most K-12 and university teachers and students are not familiar with online teaching. Equity and access to technology and the internet are also concerns. Students in urban areas are complaining of slow internet connections, but many students in remote places are finding it difficult to log into their courses at all.

Government guidance for schools and headlines about the outbreak and education in China

广东印发中小学线上教学指引:APP须经审核备案,要特别关注农村地区和留守儿童, China Education Daily ,
Online teaching activities instruction from Guangdong province education department: Online platforms (APPs) need to be checked and reviewed, and more attention should be given to rural students and children from migrant family

海南:停课不停学 不要把学生“锁”在屏幕前 小学中高年级学生每天在线学习不得超过45分钟, China Education Daily
Instructions from the education department of Hainan: Students should continue learning outside of school, while not being locked in front of digital screens. It is suggested that elementary students should not study for more than 45 minutes online every day.

停课不停学,我们在行动, China Education Daily
A document from Jiangxi province: Schools should have their own strategies and schedules to help students study online, especially for grade-12 students who are going to take the college entrance examination (Gaokao) in the coming summer. Specific learning platforms are identified to use for teaching and learning activities for the whole county.

Kids in Shanghai won’t be returning to school amid coronavirus outbreak, New York Post
The Shanghai government has announced that students will not return to schools now and the semester will start via online learning amid China’s coronavirus outbreak. K-12 students in Shanghai will start online classes from March 2.

Coronavirus outbreak forces China’s after-school activities to shut down — or move online, CNBC
As the virus keeps children at home, Chinese parents and schools are turning to online education, putting pressure on after school industry players to move online or get shut down.

Bans hinder international student travel, China Daily
Travel restrictions from the US government, visa issues and flight cancelations are hindering some Chinese students from resuming their studies after the winter break. US universities are using measures ranging from videoconferencing to online assignments to help Chinese students whose study plans have been disrupted by recent travel restrictions.

Free online learning platform for students sees smooth operation amid epidemic, xinhuanet
A free online learning platform was launched for China’s primary and secondary school students studying at home during the outbreak of COVID-19.

Online classes get mixed reactions from students, teachers, Sixth Tone
“…an increase in demand for livestreaming and other online education services is causing app crashes and other internet disruptions, with several related hashtags including “Tecent Classroom crashed” trending on microblogging platform Weibo.”

Online classes can’t replace classrooms, China Daily
China has been witnessing a different kind of new semester, in which the classroom was moved online, because of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Yet, problems emerged and show that online classes can never replace real classes, at least for now.

Recent headlines on the coronavirus outbreak and education around the world

Schools should prepare for coronavirus outbreaks, CDC officials warn, Education Week
“’You should ask your children’s schools about their plans for school dismissals or school closures,’ Nancy Messonnier, a director at the Centers for Disease Control, said during a press briefing on Tuesday. ‘Ask about plans for teleschool.’”

Coronavirus has reached the U.S. What can schools do? Education Drive
This article gives advice on how U.S. schools get prepared for the challenges caused by the spread of coronavirus.

If coronavirus gets worse in the US, online learning can fill the gaps, Education Week
The coronavirus outbreak this year has forced K-12 schools to close for a prolonged period of time, and e-learning has helped fill the gap in instruction. Similar measures could also be considered by U.S. schools.

Universities brace for lasting impact of coronavirus outbreak, Times Higher Education
The outbreak of coronavirus could serve as a good chance for universities to brace positive changes, such as improving online teaching and the use of education technology, and providing health services and hygiene standards. Furthermore, universities in China may consider making themselves more competitive and attractive among world universities.

Will coronavirus crisis trigger an enrollment crisis? Inside Higher Ed
U.S. colleges could see a major enrollment pipeline cut off this fall if the coronavirus epidemic persists. Meanwhile, Australian universities are missing more than half their Chinese students weeks before their fall semester begins.

The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest crisis ever to hit international education, The conversation
For Australian higher education, the coronavirus outbreak may be the biggest disruption to international student flows ever before.

Korea to postpone new school year as coronavirus spikes, The Korea Herald
“’To prevent the spread of infection, and for the safety of students and school faculty, the education ministry will postpone the first day of the 2020 school year at kindergartens, elementary, middle and high schools across the country by a week,’ Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said in a government press briefing.’”

Vietnam sharply divided on coronavirus school closures, VOA News
“Supporters want to keep students at home until April, while opponents say the panic is overblown.”

Coronavirus: Hong Kong school closures cripple bus companies, South China Morning Post
Drivers and minders on Hong Kong school buses have been left unpaid and threatening to quit, because of class suspensions aimed at curbing the coronavirus outbreak.

Education companies set back by China’s coronavirus crisis, EdWeek Market Brief
Education companies are feeling the effects of the spread of the coronavirus in the world in a number of ways. Education-focused businesses are worried about keeping China-based employees healthy and safe. Other companies that have developed products for use in the Chinese education market are seeing usage numbers drop as students and teachers stay home from school.

 

  • Aidi Bian & Thomas Hatch

 

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