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 volu