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Austrade regional market update on the impact of COVID-19 (as at 12 May 2020)

12 May 2020

Austrade will provide weekly regional updates on the progression and impact of COVID-19 around the world, to support the international education sector as the situation continues to evolve. These reports are compiled using the latest on-the-ground information and advice. The following updates include markets and regions for:

  • Association of South East Asian Nations
  • North America
  • Europe
  • Middle East and Africa
  • North Asia
  • Latin America
  • South Asia

Association of South East Asian Nations

Indonesia

  • Indonesia’s House of Representatives (the People’s Representative Council) has urged government to strengthen vocational education through: improved policy and a vocational education; a blueprint that guides the country beyond the immediate impacts of COVID-19; prioritising industrial sectors and optimising the number and location of vocational institutions.
  • The Directorate General of Vocational Education at the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) will launch a ‘Fast Track SMK-D2’ program that awards Vocational High School (SMK) students their high school certificate/or certification of competence, as well as a Diploma 2 (Associate level degree) at once. This program is designed to raise interest in vocational education by reducing the time needed for students to get two qualifications. MoEC explains that eligible fast-tracked students will need to study for 2.5 years, followed by one year internship, and a semester on ‘Problem Based Learning’.

Malaysia 

  • Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced the fourth extension of the movement control order (MCO), currently with loosened restrictions under the conditional MCO (CMCO), for another four weeks from 13 May to 9 June.
  • Since the easing of movement control order since 4 May, the rate of infection has remained low — a positive sign that economic recovery can forge ahead without compromising on public health safety.
  • Several state governments in Malaysia have been reluctant to implement the full effect of conditional MCO, preferring instead to continue to impose the original MCO (some with modifications of their own) for a while longer. Time will tell if infections and easing of restrictions across the country can be managed harmoniously.
  • The Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) has recently announced an easing of regulations to allow local institutions offering Mata Pelajaran Pengajian Umum (a local, pre-university qualification of general studies for private Malaysian universities), common university or open elective courses to extend a conditional offer to students. Previous regulation which states private institutions cannot enrol students to pre-university programs with forecasted SPM results however remain enforced which constrains Australian pre-university programs offered in Malaysia.
  • With Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) (Malaysian Certificate of Education, taken in Form 5), and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (Malaysian Higher School Certificate, commonly known as STPM, the local pre-university program) exams postponed until Q1 2021, teachers are faced with two cohorts of students in the new year along with multiple public holidays disrupting the first 6 months of 2021.
  • This will a real impact to the pool of eligible Malaysian students during Australian recruitment cycle in 2021 and 2022.

Myanmar

  • Interest in Australian education is growing again, due mainly to the relative stability of Australia compared to our competitors. 
  • Established agents report that following a couple of quiet months, more enquiries are being received via social media channels. 
  • Enquiries mainly for VET, notably Nursing/Healthcare, Engineering or Cookery courses. 
  • Students (and parents) who postponed departure from Myanmar, are keen to know when they will be able to travel. 
  • Parents are concerned at the effectiveness of online delivery, compared to face-to-face delivery in Australia.
  • UTS, Western Sydney and Griffith foundation courses will be conducted online in collaboration with their Myanmar agents. 

Philippines 

  • Philippines Education Secretary Leonor Briones announced that the school year will open on 24 August and end on 30 April 2021.
  • Adjustments in the basic education curriculum will be enforced but no specific details have been disclosed. No face-to-face classes will be allowed.
  • Starting 11 May, the Department of Education has permitted a 6 week program of remedial, enrichment and advancement classes via distance learning.
  • The Philippines Department of Education is looking at alignment of learning materials, various modalities for delivery and training for teachers and parents for home schooling.
  • The Philippines has a total of 10,794 COVID-19 cases at 10 May 2020.

Singapore 

  • Singapore’s six autonomous universities are considering accepting local students who have made prior arrangements to study overseas but had plans disrupted by COVID-19. These students must apply by 17 May.
  • Additionally, Singaporean students who are halfway through their overseas education but are unable to continue can also enrol into modular courses offered by the local universities or enrol for a semester.
  • Students from Singapore’s six autonomous universities can also undertake up to four continuing education and training (CET) modules offered by their alma mater for free,0 to encourage continuous learning and upskilling.
  • There are over 1,700 modules being offered across data analytics, finance, communications and systems thinking. These programs are considered ‘mini masters’ and course credits can count towards a full master’s degree at a later stage.
  • To help new graduates enter the workforce amid a volatile job market, the Singaporean government has committed $100 million for SGUnited Traineeships. The scheme aims to provide 8,000 traineeships in partnership with over 280 companies. The scheme will be open to students from the Institutes of Technical Education, the polytechnics and universities.
  • The shift to home-based learning across schools in Singapore have led to growing appetite for the consumption of edtech solutions. Local edtech companies such as KooBits and Flying Cape have seen interest in e-learning platforms re-ignited for primary and secondary school segments.
  • Currently, schools under the Ministry of Education are using the platform Zoom to conduct online lessons, although a recent a privacy breach for the platform disrupted lessons.

Thailand 

  • Thailand’s Education Minister has confirmed the new academic calendar 2020-2021 for Thai schools across the country. Term one will commence on 1 July-13 November 2020. Term two will start from 1 December 2020 to 9 April 2021.
  • According to the Education Ministry, if the virus situation deteriorates, primary and secondary school students will study from home via the government’s Distance Learning Television channels (DLTV).
  • High school students will use a mixture of online teaching platforms combined with face-to-face learning at school.
  • Most international schools commence the new school year in August and are awaiting confirmation from the Education Ministry about the possibility of re-establishing classes before the formal end of the school year towards end-June.
  • Fifty-two Thai universities have made the decision to reduce tuition fees by 15-25 per cent to help students and their parents amid the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Some universities have extended the grace period for payment until the end of the academic year including establishing a fund and welfare schemes to support their current students.
  • Several Australian universities and ELICOS providers have started to work with local education agents to organise virtual events to promote their courses by using Facebook Live or Zoom to engage with potential students.
  • Thai Airways will be operating a special commercial flight to accommodate Thai citizens from Melbourne wishing to return to Thailand on 27 May.
  • More than 900 Thai nationals have expressed their desire to return to Thailand.

Vietnam 

  • Vietnam's entry suspension for foreign nationals since 22 March is still in effect.
  • Only those with diplomatic or official passports, or coming for special economic projects are permitted to enter the country, but do so under strict medical surveillance. 
  • On 7 May, the Vietnamese government announced eased social distancing measures allowing for the reopening of all non-essential businesses (with the exception of discos and karaoke venues).
  • On 4 May, Vietnamese university and senior high school students returned to class. All other school students returned on 11 May.
  • The Ministry of Education and Training has reorganised the timetable of the second semester with the school curriculum being delivered online in March and April. High school examinations will now be held in August.
  • During the COVID-19 outbreak, many higher education institutions have proactively invested in online education, purchasing new systems, training lecturers, and digitizing learning materials.
  • In April, there were a total 98 higher education institutions deploying online teaching methodologies.

Europe

  • According to the European Commission, the EU economy will shrink by 7.4 per cent this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing the worst recession in the bloc’s history. A significant rebound is also predicted however for 2021.
  • The Commissioner for the Economy stated that both the depth of the recession and the strength of the recovery will be uneven, and will be impacted by the pace with which lockdowns in the various countries can be lifted, how important affected services such as tourism are to each economy and by each country’s financial resources.
  • The Commissioner also highlighted that forecasting was challenging at this point and many risks remain that could worsen the economic outlook, such as a longer-lasting or more severe pandemic, the fragmentation of the EU single market, financial turbulence and protectionism.
  • The forecast reflected the deep impact of the virus, which has significantly decreased corporate investments and EU exports, substantially raised deficit and debt levels and led to higher unemployment.

Russia

  • Despite the current COVID-19 situation across the country, the Ministry of Education does not plan to postpone the start of a new academic year at universities.
  • The format of education from 1 September has not yet been approved.
  • Many universities are concerned that in autumn the number of local students studying on a paid basis will most likely drop.
  • For many universities paying students are a significant part of the budget. To support the sector, the possibility of preferential educational loans is being discussed at the federal level.
  • Universities with developed online and blended modes of education expect an increase in enrolments.
  • This relates not only to humanities and business education, but also engineering courses, delivered on a paid basis or via open education platforms.
  • Among recently introduced resources is a free national internet resource that helps school teachers and university lecturers create assignments for students, and a free oil and gas education platform for university students.
  • Russia has simplified foreign students’ work rights – from 5 August 2020 students enrolled in accredited higher education and VET institutions are allowed to work unlimited hours during their free time without a permit. The employment contracts will terminate at the end of their studies.
  • Universities will run campus open days online. Potential students can ask questions about admission procedures to vice-rectors, lecturers or the selection committee during the live broadcasts on YouTube and on social networks.

Czech Republic

  • Based on a press release published by the Czech National Agency for International Education, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Czech schools and organisations have shown record interest in Erasmus +.
    • The highest increase in applications is in the area of strategic partnerships ie. for long-term cooperation projects that work to exchange knowledge, introduce innovative practices and improve the quality of education.
    • In the case of school education, there is an increase of up to 230 per cent. An example of successful project outcomes is the online portal for teaching mathematics, which was created by the Faculty of Mining - Technical University of Ostrava.
    • In the area of higher education, there was a 95 per cent increase in applications for strategic partnership projects this year. In total, financial support to the amount of 11.3 million euros is required, which is 146 per cent increase since last year. In the past, projects in the fields of medicine, astronomy, the environment or sports were supported.
    • In vocational education and training, the interest in staff experiences abroad increased by 30 per cent. While foreign internships have long been very popular among vocational school students, there has been a growing trend in staff exchanges at VET schools.
  • On 11 May schools will reopen for students in final year of elementary (prepare for admission exams to secondary schools) and for students in final year of secondary school (to prepare for the school-leaving (Maturita) exams).

Spain

  • The Spanish government is working with different regions to establish a maximum limit of students in each classroom for the upcoming school year, in order to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmissions. The likely limit for each class will be 15. 
  • Alternatives includes a shift a system where students comes to class in shifts, either mornings or afternoons, or on alternate days or weeks and studying from home the rest of the time. Families have said that this new normality in schooling will require new measures to balance work and home life.
  • Spanish Minister of Universities, Manuel Castells, will propose a reduction in first year undergraduate fees for this upcoming academic year as well as setting a maximum enrolment fee throughout Spain.

Portugal

  • All indicators show that Portugal has performed well during the coronavirus crisis and is now gradually lifting its measures after the lockdown.
  • The Portuguese Government has approved the return to classes from 18 May for students between the ages of 16 and 18 (Years 11 and 12). This will apply to public a private institutions.
  • When classes resume, it will be compulsory for students, teachers and all employees working in an educational centre to wear facial masks, which will be provided by the Ministry of Education, as well as maintaining strict hygiene rules.
  • Final exams for university entrance have been postponed to July and September.
  • Students under the age of 16 will finish the school year at home with distance classes that they can follow on a public television broadcast, which complements the work carried out by teachers.

Switzerland

  • Switzerland has established a three stage plan to end its coronavirus shutdown. The second stage will be implemented on 11 May, with the country's primary schools to reopen. On 8 June, Switzerland's secondary schools and higher learning institutions will also be allowed to reopen.
  • The cantonal education ministers agreed that the 2019/2020 school year would be accepted as completed, despite lessons being carried remotely due to school closures.
  • The school year will not be extended and school calendars in each canton will remain valid. In addition, vacations will not be used for teaching.

Germany

  • The German Government will provide €100 million worth of grants and loan support for international students who have remained in Germany and are in a situation of hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The government announced all students would be able to receive interest-free loans of up to €650 per month.
  • Additionally, the German government will provide students in special emergency situations with non-repayable grants.

France

  • France will gradually start to ease some restrictions from 11 May, although measures to curb the spread of coronavirus will be kept in place in Paris and the north-eastern regions which have experienced the highest incidence of infections.
  • Initially some primary schools will be allowed to reopen, with secondary schools currently scheduled to reopen in June in the regions of France with a lower incidence of coronavirus, pending infection rates at the time.

Norway

  • In Norway the entire school system will reopen from 11 May (primary schools are already open). University campuses will remain closed and will continue with distance education.

Denmark

  • In Denmark senior secondary schools will reopen from 18 May.

United Kingdom

  • According to an analysis from the Centre for Research in Digital Education, UK universities will need to spend about £10m per institution in order to create 5 or 6 online degrees across several faculties.
  • The analysis suggests this would cost £1 billion across the sector.
  • According to the analysis, only 20 of the UK’s 136 universities are fully prepared to shift to online learning with some institutions indicating it has been difficult to find private sector partners to assist them as the leading online learning companies have opted to work with the more prestigious universities.’

Italy

  • The government has budgeted Euro 400 million to bring high speed internet connections to over 80 per cent of schools for when the new academic year begins in September.
  • A voucher of up to €500 has also been proposed for families, in accordance with their income level, to support faster home connections and the purchasing of PCs and tablets.
  • These measures are also aligned with the draft plan the government is considering to support the re-opening of schools in September, pending the health situation.
  • Some of the options being considered include staggered starts for individual classes to avoid students collecting at peak times, a hybrid system of distance learning and in-person classes, temperature-testing of students and teachers and the possible use of face masks during school attendance.

Middle East and Africa

United Arab Emirates

  • The UAE Ministry of Education will continue e-learning education for the next academic year, commencing in September 2020 — with the extent of e-learning determined by the prevailing COVID-19 situation.
  • The Ministry is exploring three scenarios if COVID-19 pandemic extends into the next academic school year (2020-2021).
    • The first scenario is the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, where e-learning will account for 100 per cent of lessons across the entire country.
    • The second scenario is a transitional phase after the virus has dissipated and the country is recovering, face to face education returns at a range between 30-50 per cent.
    • The final scenario is a development plan implemented in the event where COVID-19 outbreak is under control and school operations return to normal.

Saudi Arabia

  • As of 1 July 2020, Saudi Arabia will introduce measures to support the economy, and will increase value added taxes (VAT) from 5 to 15 per cent, and suspend the cost of living allowance for Saudi nationals. Tuition fees, school fees and training will be subject to 15 per cent VAT. Other complex funding arrangements such as grants and sponsorships may also face challenges.
  • Saudi Arabia has announced that there will be cancellation, extension or delays in some capital expenditure for a number of government agencies and reduced initiatives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not yet clear what impact this will have on education sector expenditure and scholarship programs going forward.

Kuwait

  • Kuwait suspended classes at all public and private schools and higher education institutions in March until 4 August 2020 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. 
  • The new school year will begin on 1 December 2020.Kuwait is currently on full curfew conditions for 20 days from 10 - 31 May 2020.

Kenya

  • Schools in Kenya remain closed with the Ministry of Education proposing a reopening date of 4 June 2020.
  • The Ministry of Education announced measures to compensate for lost time after opening of schools —longer school hours and the midterm break and August holidays will be shorter. The national exam dates remain unchanged (October/ November).
  • Some private schools have continued learning through online platforms. There has been contention between some private schools offering virtual learning and parents regarding tuition costs, with parents demanding up to 50 per cent discounts.
  • There is the perception of reduced value in virtual learning, which is also reflected in the low uptake of online courses.

North Asia

China

  • According to a notice released by the National Health Commission and Ministry of Education, students in areas with a low risk of COVID-19 infection are not required to wear masks at school as many local governments continue the process of reopening classrooms.
  • The notice focuses on control and prevention of COVID-19 at kindergartens, elementary, junior and senior high schools.

Japan

  • Lock down continues. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday 04 May announced that Japan will extend its State of Emergency (SoE) through to 31 May. The SoE was initially set to expire on 6 May.
  • Japan's economy is now expected to contract by an annualized 21.7 per cent during the April-June quarter, its worst showing since the end of World War II, according to a recent Nikkei survey of 16 private sector economists.
  • In Academic Year changes, the Japanese government is considering changing the start of its academic year from April to September, given that many schools have already been closed for an extended period and are expected to remain so until the end of May.
  • Those pushing for the reform note that it would bring Japan closer into line with the “global standard”, making it easier for Japanese students to study abroad especially in Europe or North America, and help attract more international students to Japan.
  • However, it will likely make it more difficult for institutions in Australia and New Zealand to attract Japanese students.
  • With many high schools extending school closures until the end of May, summer holidays may be shortened to catch up. This is traditionally a peak time for high school students to go on study tours/study abroad.
  • In international education news, education agents are reporting a significant drop in sales. JAOS, the peak association for Japanese education agents, conducted a survey of its member agents and found a 70 per cent decrease in sales in April, with almost half of the respondents reporting “no sales” in April. The number of enquiries from prospective students also declined by around 80 per cent in April.
  • Online education growing, but ICT infrastructure lags behind. Yano Research Institute Ltd reported that the Japanese e-Learning market expanded by 7.7 per cent in the 2019 financial year and it is expected to grow further in 2020.
  • However, the ICT environment in schools in Japan is still far behind that in other countries, with around 10 per cent of schools lacking a high-speed internet network.
  • To support this situation, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has allocated about 3 billion yen to provide optical network service across the nation in the 2020 supplementary budget, in addition to 2 billion yen allocated in the 2020 budget.
  • The Ministry of Education (MEXT), as well as individual universities, are also allocating funds to support the transition to online education.
  • Financial support given to Japanese students, with many students experiencing financial hardship due to lack of part-time work, the Ministry of Education (MEXT) and the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) are offering flexible financial support packages for university students facing financial stress, including reductions in tuition fees on top of special scholarship.
  • Individual universities are also offering financial support to their students. While these measures will help students in the short term, we expect these financial constraints could see a decline in the number of university students choosing to participate in study tours/ study abroad/ exchange programs for the next couple of terms.

Korea

  • Due to a recent spike in confirmed cases, the Ministry of Education is considering postponing the recommencement of face to face school classes that was to begin, in phases, 13 May.

Mongolia

  • The Education Minister of Mongolia, has highlighted the importance of digital technology in the education sector.
  • The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced that due to closure of schools and universities, graduate exams of Higher Education Institutions will be organized online from 1-15 June, 2020.
  • With the consultation of State Emergency Commission, the Ministry also allowed high schools to organise classes with smaller numbers only for Year 12 students to help prepare for exams.

Latin America

Argentina

  • Compulsory, preventive and social distancing was extended until 24 May. Buenos Aires City’s Government has started to ease quarantine by allowing leisure activities and some shops to open: libraries, toy stores, furniture stores and kiosks.
  • Argentine universities are developing respirators for patients with low and medium complexity COVID-19.

Mexico

  • Currently, there are 29,616 cases and 1,982 deceased persons.
  • The Army and the Navy are ready to deploy the National emergency support program DN-3. Due to the complex situation in the border city of Tijuana, Doctors without Borders has arrived to provide support to local health authorities.
  • Public Higher Education institutions have extended semester 1 of 2020 until 21 August. Semester 2 commences on 21 September.

Peru

  • Government confirmed that a complete shutdown will be extended until 24 May, 2020.
  • The Ministry of Health has declared 61,847 COVID patients to date and 1,714 deaths.
  • This week the Government published a legislative decree that aims to guarantee the continuity and quality of the basic distance education service in the more than 26 thousand private schools, which serve 26 per cent of the 8.1 million students nationwide.

Brazil

  • On Sunday 10 May, official figures from the Ministry of Health report 155,939 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Brazil, with 10,627 deaths.
  • President Jair Bolsonaro authorized the inclusion of two more categories to the nationwide essential business list: industrial and construction activities.
  • These numbers, however, are under reported due to low testing. Brazil has tested only 1,597 people for every 1 million inhabitants. That is a rate 33 times smaller than Spain.
  • Quarantine measures remain in most states. The governments of the State of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have extended quarantine until at least 31 May.
  • In Rio de Janeiro, the latest survey released by an association of private hospitals, shows that occupancy rates of intensive care units in private hospitals already exceeds 90 per cent. There have been predictions that the network could collapse within 15 days.
  • According to the Brazilian think tank Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), unemployment in the country may be the highest in the last 25 years, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Ministry of Education has insisted to maintain the dates of the National University Entrance Exam (Enem). The format and dates will be the same despite the closure of schools and universities. This move places Brazil against global trends.

Colombia

  • The Ministry of Health confirmed this week 568 new cases in Colombia, a total of 11,063. Some 6,484 tests were processed with 2,705 people who have recovered.
  • On Monday 11 May, the economic reactivation begins in Bogotá, with the return of at least 1,000 infrastructure companies and 3,000 manufacturers that were authorised by the Bogota District under the parameters established by the National Government. It is expected that at least 2.5 million people return to the streets in the capital city.
  • In recent weeks, both public and private universities have focused their efforts on two main aspects: the development of prototypes of mechanical respirators; and support in conducting tests to detect patients with coronavirus.
  • To date, the country has 60 laboratories to undertake tests, among them are those at Los Andes, La Nacional, La Tecnológica de Pereira and La Pontifica Bolivariana universities providing support for the Government in this area.
  • The Colombian Association of Student Representatives of Higher Education (ACREES) sent a letter to President Iván Duque and the Ministry of Education as a request to support Higher Education Institutions (IES), its students and workers and families, requesting a budget boost for public HEIs.

Chile

  • Thus far, there have been just 323 recorded deaths, there were 1,197 new infections announced on Monday 11 May, bringing the total to 30,063.
  • Schools and Universities remain closed and classes keep delivering online, this is going to extend to the end of May.

North America

  • The US and Canada now have more than 1,271,000 and 67,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases respectively.

Canada

  • The House of Commons has fast-tracked and passed a series of student-focused COVID-19 support measures that will allow eligible post-secondary students to claim $1,250 a month from May to August to mitigate the impact of losing summer jobs.
  • International students will not be able to access the funding.

United States

  • 48 states, 4 U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) have ordered or recommended school building closures for the rest of the academic year.
  • Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland and Maine are the first states to apply for, and receive emergency education funds as part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.
  • Insider Higher Ed and Hanover Research completed the second part of their COVID-19 Perceptions and Response Survey of college and university Presidents, building on their first survey in March 2020, with *new survey questions. Top insights include:
    • Immediate-term issues include mental health of students (91 per cent), Disproportionate impact on students from low-income backgrounds (87 per cent) and accelerated rates of student attrition (86 per cent).
    • Remote learning challenges include maintaining student engagement (77), Training faculty less familiar with digital delivery (68 per cent) and ensuring student access (69 per cent).
    • *Future institutional responses include invest in new, online learning resources (76 per cent), moving admissions online (70 per cent) and investing in additional physical or mental health resources (62 per cent).
    • Top areas of government support institutions need for additional support include financial stimulus package to compensate for losses (93 per cent), flexibility on regulatory limitations in providing remote learning (58 per cent) and mental health resource allocation for students (41 per cent).
  • National Association for College Admission Counselling (NACAC) has reported that some 700 colleges have open slots for the fall 2020 term, a major increase from previous years and showing that coronavirus will impact enrolment goals.
  • The Department of Education will give an additional $1 billion in coronavirus relief to minority-serving institutions, including historically black and tribal colleges, as well as to select other schools that serve high shares of low-income students.

South Asia

India

  • India’s COVID-19 lockdown, which began in March and has been extended until at least 18 May, has left millions of high school and university students anxious about everything from exams arrangements to tuition fees.
  • To address these concerns, Ramesh Pokhriyal, Education Minister held a webinar on 5 May to answer questions directly from students. During his webinar, he confirmed that major entrance exams and admissions exams for technology and medicine programmes, would be held in July and August.
  • He also said there would be no fee hikes at Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), International Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) or National Institutes of Technology (NITs) as families face an economic downturn. He also reassured students that “plans are being made to ensure that the year is saved”.
  • Universities and schools across the country have been closed since 16 March when the central government announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as one of the measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The guidelines of returning to class are being formed by the Ministry’s Department of School Education and Literacy for schools and by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for universities and higher education institutions.
  • Online education and edtech is the new normal for the government in India.
  • The Government of India has launched a host of online learning initiatives under its National Digital Literacy Mission. As mentioned by the Union Human Resources and Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, the government is currently offering a slew of educational applications and platforms for both school and higher educational institutes.
  • The current situation has also given a boost to the popularity of existing edtech solutions.

Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh plans to extend shutdown due to increase in number of cases. Extension to be formally announced soon.
  • Bangladeshi students are choosing international study online during COVID-19.
  • The full extent of consequences on the higher education sector in the months to come is not yet clear and still unfolding.
  • Most students who were supposed to travel for joining the summer intake at different universities abroad were not able to travel due to worldwide restrictions of movement. Universities have also switched to online learning.

Nepal

  • Nepal’s lockdown has been extended until 18 May.
  • Agents have expressed Australia enjoys a very positive perception for its handling of COVID-19, and keeping the cases low compared to other western countries.
  • The monetary help along with all other help offered by various Australian universities to the foreign students currently in Australia, is being noticed among the prospective students and is further strengthening brand Australia in education.
  • There could be around 400 Nepalese students that have their visas and were to start this year and are now waiting for the international flights to start.
  • Job losses in Australia is a concerning factor, especially for students studying hospitality and travel courses. 

Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lanka resumed its usual work mode from today, 11 May 2020, whilst having curfew imposed in Colombo and Gampaha districts allowing those people only to engage with office travel.
  • Schools and universities remain closed.

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