Acknowledging that the disruptions caused by this year’s pandemic make predicting the future difficult, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a new book, Back to the Future of Education: Four OECD Scenarios for Schooling, outlining four scenarios for the future of education. The scenarios are: schooling extended, in which participation in formal education continues to expand; education outsourced, in which learning takes place in more diverse and privatized settings; schools as learning hubs, in which school walls open and schools connect to communities; and learn-as-you-go, in which education takes place anytime, anywhere.
Korea’s Minister of Education has announced improvements to their online learning systems to address the concern that distance learning is exacerbating the achievement gap. These updates are meant to strengthen the connection between teachers and students by offering live chat options and live sessions with students before and after each class day. To improve access to online classes, the Ministry will provide wireless internet access for all classrooms and replace outdated devices by November. In addition, it is upgrading the current online learning system to allow for more collaboration and community engagement. The Ministry also added a requirement for teachers to hold a counseling session with any student (or their parent) who misses in-person classes for a week to address the issue. Read more in The Korea Herald.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Singapore is making new efforts to invest in its teachers and other key school staff to ensure that students are fully supported and prepared to navigate a fast-changing education and jobs landscape. Singapore announced it intends to eventually post more than 100 master teachers—top-caliber national teacher leaders—to schools to teach classes and lead professional development. Education Minister Lawrence Wong said the initiative is “a significant move, signaling our commitment to strengthen the teaching track, and our continued investments to create a quality teaching workforce as the backbone of our education system.” Singapore also plans to hire more student welfare officers and career guidance counselors to help students acquire the resources they need while in school and as they transition after graduation. Finally, with the implementation of blended learning, Singapore is also looking to enhance career development opportunities for staff responsible for IT functions as those skills are now considered to be core capability. Read more in The Straits Times.
Although in-person classes in Hong Kong will not officially begin their phased start until September 23, starting this week schools have been permitted to bring back small groups of students for other purposes, like make-up classes or orientation. Face-to-face activities can include no more than one-sixth of the total school population at any one time and will take place on a school-by-school basis. For instance, one primary school principal said grade 6 students came back this week to check their assessment scores from last year for applying to secondary schools and grade 1 students will come in early next week for orientation. Read more from the South China Morning Post.