While over 1.5 billion students worldwide are deprived of face-to-face education due to the coronavirus lockdown, Turkey became the second country to start nationwide distance education.
According to data compiled by Anadolu Agency (AA), the novel coronavirus has hampered education in 184 countries for over 1.5 billion students – 87% of students across the globe. While many countries shut down schools in a bid to counter the outbreak, Turkey and China were among the few that took online or remote education initiatives.
Shortly after schools were shut down in Turkey, 18 million students began receiving school lessons online and on TV, through the country's Education Information Network (EBA) and public broadcaster TRT EBA.
In line with the government's decision on the coronavirus outbreak, remote lessons, which began on March 23, will continue until April 30.
Three TRT channels were designated exclusively for primary, secondary, and high school lessons, lasting 20 to 25 minutes.
As for EBA, the world's largest online education platform, students can access 1,600 lessons, as well as more than 20,000 interactive content. Notably, the top three mobile operators in Turkey have provided students with eight gigabytes of free internet data so they can access online lessons.
The EBA system has also launched "live classes" where both lecturers and students can see each other, with over 2.7 million students to join such classes if pilot tests prove effective.
In addition to the standard curriculum, the Education Ministry has also integrated arts, sports and scientific activities to the EBA system.
When the lockdown ends, according to Education Minister Ziya Selçuk, students will be given lessons on the weekend or during the summer to compensate for the lost time. Selçuk had previously said Turkey's remote education initiative was only comparable in scale to that of China's.
The Education Ministry also set up a “psycho-social support center” for students and their families, to alleviate the impact of outbreak and measures against it. A hotline staffed by counselors offers advice. The ministry also published two guidebooks for families to assist their children in the time of the outbreak and overcome trauma the isolation may have on students and their families.
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