This research aims to provide general information about the latest situation of educational institutions in the light of current data and literature.
Article Download PDF
Education has undoubtedly been in one of the areas most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, where the first case was seen in China’s Hubei region on December 1, 2019 and affected countless countries in less than six months. With the emergence of cases in many countries, face-to-face education was suspended with a quick decision. The distance education system was introduced in a short time in primary school, secondary school, high schools, and universities. In this period, which cannot be predicted for how long it will take, regulations were put into effect both the education and evaluation practices by the education ministries and higher education institutions and were made available to students and teachers in less than a week.
This research aims to provide general and statistical information about education institutions adaptation to the system, its functioning and the latest situation in Turkey, Japan, Korea, USA, England, France, and Germany, in company with current data and literature.
How is the education process managed during the pandemic process?
Education is the most important factor that prepares a country for the future. Everyone, from the top level manager of a country to the employees in the smallest business, is subjected to a certain basic training.
The entire process of learning, acquiring and performing a profession, or at least a certain initial part, requires training. Well-educated individuals improve the region in which they live, develop their country, and ultimately advance their age and humanity. Although the economy, which is the lifeblood of the state and governments, has been interrupted, educational processes have always continued in the world history and in the lands we live in all kinds of bad situations and crises.
Distance Education Practices
Although distance education practices have continued for centuries with the development of technology and communication tools and the emergence of the internet in the world and in our country, no such collective initiative has been observed. The Covid-19 outbreak has brought life around the world to a standstill in many ways over the past year.
All businesses such as cafes, restaurants and even shopping malls, which are called for people not to go out unnecessarily, and that provide employment with high economic circulation, have been closed for a long time. During this period, education processes continued without slowing down by providing new opportunities and access opportunities all over the world and in our country.
With the corona virus epidemic, “distance education”, which is one of the concepts that is almost a part of life, has especially subjected students to a process they are not accustomed to in their lives. Various practices have been implemented in order to maintain the principles of discipline and continuity in face-to-face education in distance education and to get maximum efficiency from lessons.
Schools, which were closed in March 2020 with social measures, were gradually opened in many countries as of the first weeks of May, but the number of fully open schools decreased again as of November. As of January, the number of countries with fully open schools tended to increase. The number of countries that keep their schools partially open in February and March tends to increase.
How long did it take to adapt to distance education in these countries?
- Turkey and Germany have been adapted in one week distance education and online courses can be started at full speed.
- Since Japan and Korea are developed countries in terms of information, IT networks and technology, they may have adapted to this system in less than two weeks.
- It may have taken a month for America to adapt to distance education practices due to its high population.
- The UK may have adapted to distance education in less than two weeks.
- France may have had difficulties in adapting to distance education and may have experienced systemic difficulties.
Was the education system infrastructure of the countries ready for distance education applications?
- Turkey universities are partly used in these applications. However, there may be an existing system for distance education applications in primary schools, secondary schools and high schools affiliated to the Ministry of National Education.
- The current education system in Japan, Korea and Germany may be ready or available for distance education applications.
- The USA, England and France may not have an education system ready for distance education applications.
What is the rate of participation in distance education in these countries?
- Given the shared-access opportunities for students to participate in distance education in Turkey can be around 70%.
- Participation rates in distance education in Japan, Korea and Germany may be higher than 80%.
- The rate of participation in distance education in the USA, England and France may be below 50%.
This article tests the above questions and hypotheses to meet the research objectives.
Education Policies in Turkey on Pandemic Process
Ministry of Health immediately after the first cases of Covid-19 Ministry of Education announced to the public on March 12, 2020 of all schools in Turkey announced that it would move to distance education. After this explanation, three different distance education models were applied in education.
Secondly, with the asynchronous education model, students were able to use the EBA online portal over the internet and followed their asynchronous lessons. As a result, with the synchronous education model, students had the opportunity to do exam preparation or question-answer work with teachers without time limit on the EBA live classroom.
After April 30, 2020, a live class is planned for all levels.
According to research and observations, 7 million 383 thousand 213 students and 1 million 30 thousand 516 teachers actively used EBA in the distance education process.
After the interruption of education in the face of Turkey Coronavirus measures, three new television channel TRT EBA and capacity in a short time with studies conducted by the Ministry of Education has increased. In addition, distance education started on 23 March for more than 18 million students through EBA. The distance education process for the 2019-2020 academic year ended on June 19.
TRT EBA Broadcasts
Films were shot in 10 different studios in Ankara and Istanbul for TRT EBA distance education broadcasts. 674 teachers from 93 branches participated in the shootings, 2 thousand 358 lesson videos and 221 activity videos were prepared. With the improvements made later, EBA also has an infrastructure that can be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 18 million students.
Distance education practices have been rapidly initiated in higher education institutions. Our universities have done important studies in the transition to distance education and many universities have completed these studies in a short time. 121 out of 189 universities (64%) 23 March 2020 (one week after YÖK suspended education at universities), 41 (21.6%) 30 March 2020, 25 (13%) , 2) started distance education applications on 6 April 2020 (YÖK, 2020).
Education Policies in Japan on Pandemic Process
Most of the institutions that prefer distance education are located in the capital Tokyo and its surroundings, with about 10% in Japan, with distance education applications that have become popular in the world for the past year.
In Japan, during the April-May period, schools were closed for about 45 days due to the state of emergency, and it was decided to continue education in schools after the state of emergency. After the state of emergency was declared across the country on April 7, distance education was introduced in most primary and secondary schools.
In Japan, where the academic year begins in April (2020), 78 percent of higher education institutions have decided to delay the start of classes. In other words, most of the universities did not continue their education and training practices.
Later, the Ministry of Education announced that 65 percent of state universities and 35 percent of private universities will switch to distance education. As a result, there was no distance learning with full participation.
Education Policies in South Korea on Pandemic Process
With an approach covering the whole government and under the leadership of the General Directorate of Central Disaster and Security Measures, Korea actively intervened in the coronavirus epidemic in openness, transparency and democratic process.
The Ministry of Education postponed the start of the second term in schools from March 2, 2020 to April 8, in order to prioritize student safety and prevent the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak. In early March, the Ministry launched voluntary online learning classes for three weeks, with an approach that slows down but does not stop students’ learning processes.
One week before the commencement of online classes, “teacher-implemented online learning” services were offered for both students and teachers, called an orientation period. Online classes were created to support communication between teachers and students and provide support and a variety of materials for sharing learning content. In addition, online classes enabled students to participate in general guidance and self-learning.
About a month and a half after the decision to temporarily close schools, 98.9% of the total number of students in the country (5.34 million) attended online classes, according to statistics released on April 20.
Education Policies in USA on Pandemic Process
Although the first coronavirus case in the USA was seen on January 21, 2020, the decision to stop face-to-face training was first made in Ohio state on 12 March.
After this situation, states such as Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon and Michigan decided to take a break from face-to-face education for a while and switch to distance education the same day.
Meanwhile, with the trade sanctions crisis between the USA and China, some technological vehicle procurement problems have been experienced, and this has sparked controversy.
United States education system and each applied to different schools in every state in the process of distance learning and the curriculum as teachers of technological environment already in place, Turkey prefers to build such a platform.
Even when distance education applications were finally launched in the US, according to the results of a survey conducted by research company Common Sense Media from March 24 to April 1, participation in online classes in the country is almost half: 4 out of 10 students do not attend online classes.
In a study conducted by the New York Times on high school students, it was noted that more than half of the students across the country did not attend classes.
Education Policies in United Kingdom on Pandemic Process
Face-to-face education in schools started to be stopped on March 20, 2020. Private schools in England continued their classes with video conference (online course).
Public schools started distance education just a month later, and the BBC prepared a fourteen-week course program. A 3-hour primary school program was broadcast from 9:00 on every weekday on the BBC’s children’s channel CBBC. Famous physicists, a football player, former deputy, actors and some singers also participated in the course broadcasts in order to make the distance education application more attractive and fun for children.
Instead of developing distance learning practices, the UK government emphasized the need for students to return to school saying: “The risk of getting COVID-19 at school is minimal and being away from school is far more detrimental to the child’s development, health and well-being.”
For this reason, it is vital that we take our children back to their classes so that they can continue their education and be with their friends. Nothing will have a bigger impact on our children’s life chances than returning to school.
According to a study conducted by the British Office of National Statistics (ONS), 52 percent of parents stated that their children had difficulty continuing their education. Despite the frightening numbers of coronavirus cases, schools across the UK have had and continue to have attempts to continue their face-to-face educational activities.
Education Policies in France on Pandemic Process
France stopped face-to-face training on 16 March, only thirty-three days after the first coronavirus case was seen in Bordeaux on January 24, 2020.
In France, the Ministry of National Education could not find a solution to distance education applications and later developed the “My Classroom is at Home” application, but according to statistics, it was seen that 80% of teachers and students did not use this application.
800,000 teachers in France conducted online lessons using alternative platforms regardless of the application developed. Most of the distance education practices in the country continued with teachers sending homework to students via e-mail.
Education Policies in Germany on Pandemic Process
It was officially announced that the first case of the Covid-19 outbreak in Germany was encountered in Munich on January 27, 2020. Following this, the German government and the Ministry of Health decided to close schools in early March.
Germany seems to behave in the form of states, as in the case of America. In this context, it is very difficult to talk about a single system or consensus in Germany. Since every state in the country regulates its own education policy, different educational practices have emerged. In one area, classes were taught online, in the other homework was done via e-mail.
During the Covid-19 crisis, discussions began about the consequences of distance learning, pointing to access inequalities. While many teachers invest heavily in distance learning with digital tools, some teachers demanded that the promotion of digital tools be stopped immediately.
Researcher – Gamzegül Fidan