Around 900 million students not attending schools worldwide: Education minister
Turkey will start a distance education program for around 18 million students through six channels provided by the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the education minister has said, stressing that nearly 900 million students cannot go to schools worldwide and there is a need for an effective education system for children.
“Distance education will begin on March 23. We will use the infrastructure of the TRT which has allocated us five studios in Istanbul and three studios in Ankara. The lessons will be aired through six channels provided by the TRT,” Education Minister Ziya Selçuk told the Anadolu Agency in an interview on March 19.
Turkey on March 12 decided to shut down the schools by March 16 for a week and to launch distance learning starting from March 23 after the first coronavirus case was detected last week.
Selçuk informed that the Education Ministry has prepared contingency plans for sustaining the distance education program in the event the pandemic continues to spread across the country.
“Distance learning will start on Monday. But let’s say the pandemic endures and runs over the education year, I say this as a probability, our job and responsibility are to be ready for any scenario,” he stated. “We are working on our educational strategies in line with the pace of the spread of the outbreak.”
Thanks to the channels to be provided by the TRT, the ministry will run what it calls the EBA TV to provide lessons from primary to high school students. EBA is the acronym of the Education Informatics Infrastructure basis of the online educational system in Turkey.
Selçuk recalled that many more countries have decided to shut down the schools and around 900 million students are currently not attending schools, saying, “It’s nearly one billion. This figure will increase.”
Turkey and China have a well-advanced system for providing distance learning compared to other countries, the minister said, adding they will continue to work to make it much better.
“The main objective of distance learning is to keep the students attached to the schools, maintain their motivation. Otherwise, distance learning cannot replace face-to-face education. Our courses will include sports, music, and arts apart from the main lessons. Our objective is to provide psychological support to our children in this difficult period,” he said.