The use of technology to ensure the continuity of young people’s learning process in the Covid-19 crisis. The situation in Asia

Continuing young people’s learning process in the Covid-19 crisis, by the World Bank. A brief overview of the situation in Asia.

The use of technology to ensure the continuity of young people’s learning process in the Covid-19 crisis. The situation in Asia

During the Covid-19 pandemic, countries have joined forces to provide technological support to schools, with the aim of ensuring continuity for the academic year, establishing new distance learning processes during lockdowns. The situation triggered by the virus led to the emergence of multiple initiatives. These include a project implemented by the World Bank through its EduTech website. This website is a compilation of various and highly significant topics and implementation models in the field of education, in support of national dialogues underway around the world.

The World Bank has compiled an internal database to catalogue emerging countries’ approaches. In their EduTech blog, they analyse the measures adopted by each of the countries during the pandemic. This article reviews the challenges posed in each of the countries in Asia.


Afghanistan has established guidelines for three scenarios of the continued impact of Covid-19 for different time spans. The first scenario is established for one or two months after the emergence of the pandemic, the second for three to six months and the third envisages a scenario in which the pandemic lasts more than six months. In response to these three scenarios, a plan was devised, the “Alternative Education Scheme for Persistence of Coronavirus”. This plan was developed by the Directorate of Vocational and Technical Education. The solutions proposed by the Ministry of Education envisage ongoing learning from home, through the dissemination of printed materials (chapters of textbooks), lessons via broadcast media (radio and television), as well as educational resources through digital platforms (websites) and social media (Facebook and YouTube).

Saudi Arabia

During the Coronavirus crisis, the Saudi Ministry of Education (MoE) has designated 127 teachers to deliver daily lessons in 112 educational subjects through 19 TV channels, broadcasting nationally from a classroom in Riyadh. The Ministry offers students multiple e-learning options available on its website.


On 27 March 2020, the Ministry of Education (MoE) launched Bhutan’s e-learning programme, thus implementing “guidelines for curriculum implementation plan for education in emergency (EiE)” . UNICEF is among the organisations that have supported the MoE, with the aim of ensuring that education continuity is implemented, through the national broadcaster. The country has chosen to make use of educational television, as well as social media such as YouTube. The broadcasting schedules are published on the MoE website.

In terms of digital platforms and tools, schools have opted for distance learning using Google Suite, WeChat or WhatsApp. Teachers use these to establish communication with parents and students, assign daily activities, send homework, and complete assessments. Schools have also collected data on the number of students with access to the Internet and electronic devices. The main source of Internet access in Bhutan is through smartphones.

To address the digital gap and allow children who do not have devices or Internet connections to continue their learning, various providers such as Bhutan Telecom (BT) and TashiCell, have worked with the government to provide data and allow access to educational content to all students during lockdown. The Ministry of Information and Communications is also working with the MoE and the telecom service providers to facilitate data access for students across the country.


China was the first country to face the coronavirus crisis, and learning was interrupted there before it was paralysed in the rest of the world. On 9 February, some 200 million primary and secondary school students in China kicked off the new semester in a home learning experiment. All schools had been closed because of the coronavirus. This was the greatest educational challenge in the history of mankind. Over the course of two weeks the Ministry of Education, together with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, met with providers of online platforms and courses, telecommunications providers and other education management bodies with the following aims:

  • To mobilise the main telecommunications providers with a view to improving connectivity in regions in less favourable conditions.
  • To increase the bandwidth of the main educational platforms.
  • To compile more than 24,000 online courses for university students and 22 online course platforms for primary and secondary education.
  • To compile methodologies to facilitate distance learning. To train schools and teachers to select suitable methodologies applied to ICT. To establish the learning hours required by each year.
  • To strengthen internet security with the help of telecommunication providers.
  • To provide psycho-social support and training about the coronavirus and the protection and security measures to be adopted.

To guarantee uninterrupted learning and the continuity of the academic year, the Ministry of Education launched the  National Cloud-Platform for Educational Resources and Public Service.

More about China’s National Cloud-Platform for Educational Resources and Public Service.


India is another country that has chosen to use digital platforms to ensure education continuity. On 21 March 2020, the Ministry of Human Resource Development shared several free digital platforms with students affected by school closures to enable their continued learning.

These include the DIKSHA e-learning platform, aimed at teachers, parents and students. The content has been created by more than 250 teachers and is aligned to the curriculum. The materials include video lessons, textbooks, worksheets and assessments. The app is available for use offline. The National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) portal is another platform providing resources for students and teachers in multiple languages, including books, interactive modules and videos, and a series of STEM-based games.

Swayam is one of the portals aligned with the academic plan and includes more than 1900 courses in subjects such as humanities, social sciences, engineering, law, management and robotics. It is aimed at school classes 9 to 12 and higher education (undergraduate and postgraduate) levels. Swayam belongs to Swayam Prabha, a group of 32 Direct To Home (DTH) channels which broadcast nationwide educational programmes for all grades, including teacher training. The broadcast content includes: science, humanities, social sciences, technology, law, medicine, commerce, arts, engineering, agriculture, etc. The programming schedules are available through its website.

One last e-learning application we highlight in India is e-Pathshala, available in several languages for primary education. This tool encompasses books, videos, audio, etc.


Like in India, in Indonesia, the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) brought together ten technology providers to offer learners free access to digital learning platforms such as Ruangguru and Zenius. Other tools, such as Google Suite Education, Smart Class, Microsoft Teams, Quipper School, Sekolahmu and Kelas Pintar, are also harnessed.

The technological initiatives include Rumah Belajar “House of Learning”, a platform set up by the Ministry that provides educational resources on demand, from pre-school to professional training. It provides a learning management system, allowing teachers and students to interact, and compiles digital lessons, electronic textbooks, as well as practice assessment tools in accordance with the academic programme.

Another technological solution offered is the Online Learning System (SPADA) in support of Learning Management Systems (LMS) for higher education. Online lectures have been made available to all students, as well as open resources available through any university connected to SPADA.

The declaration of the state of emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of all exams at national level. The MoEC announced that all assessments would be replaced by online activities, tests and exams.

However, Indonesia has not only opted for technological solutions. To enable continuity of education during this period, educational content has been broadcast through traditional media such as television. In 2004, the MoEC launched the educational television channel TV Edukasi, with two channels that broadcast live programmes, one aimed at students and the other exclusively at teachers. Live educational programmes are also available through their website. TV Edukasi became one of the alternatives during the lockdown.


In response to the new educational scenario triggered by the Covid-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has proposed various strategies to schools and centres of learning. There is a summary of all the information on its website . In Japan, some schools have opted for distance learning using ICT, but many other schools have continued to use school facilities in a safe and healthy manner.


In Korea the pandemic prompted the Ministry of Education to invest US$250 million to address the education crisis. This represents a 4% increase in the total education budget in 2020. The investment was used for supporting online education platforms, zero-rating public education websites, and purchasing necessary health equipment for teachers and students. The Government is also supporting the cost of network operators zero-rating educational websites for all students until the end of May. Thus, multiple free-of-charge online courses for secondary education students have been launched.

The Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), in collaboration with the MoE and the Ministry of Family, created new online learning websites for science experiments and software coding.

As in Indonesia, the role of traditional media in Korea is also noteworthy and has been supported by the government. The Korean Education Broadcasting System (EBS) and all the Korea Education & Research Information Service (KERIS) opted to support zero-rated educational websites, in order to encourage learning from home. EBS broadcasts educational programming daily through traditional media such as radio and television, and provides educational content in video format, while KERIS provides digital textbooks covering subjects such as: mathematics, science, social studies, etc. It also provides digital teaching platforms such as Wedorang and e-learning services such as e-Hakseupteo, tools that are set up as virtual classrooms, enabling teachers to post activities, interact with students, hold debates and assess assignments.


On 1 March 2020, schools and universities were closed in Kuwait. Like in other countries, the Ministry of Education opted to promote distance learning. Kuwait also harnessed traditional media such as television, using the educational channel to broadcast lessons to students of all ages, on multiple subjects.


Malaysia also implemented two methods of teaching. On the one hand, through the digital platform EduwebTV, previously known as TV Pendidikan, the Ministry of Education provides a repository of educational resources, such as text books in digital format on demand, aimed at students from pre-school to secondary school.

Lessons were also broadcast through traditional media such as television. On 6 April 2020, the public broadcaster Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM)launched a new educational TV channel called TV Okey. This channel airs a grid of educational content aimed primarily at students without internet access. The programmes are live-streamed through the RTM website, where broadcasting schedules are also available.


In the Maldives, the Ministry of Education opted mainly to provide alternative teaching methods for students without internet access, with the aim of ensuring learning continuity in an equitable manner for all students. Accordingly, a plan was drawn up for students at all levels of education, with a view to tackling long-term suspension of in-person classes. Content has been broadcast primarily through traditional media. Tele-classes were arranged for primary school students, and these resources are also shared through the Ministry’ website. After schools were closed, the Ministry of Education incorporated the “Telekilaas” programme, offering exam preparation lessons to tenth graders. The programme is streamed via the public television channel “Public Service Media” (PSM ), and YES TV and provides learning content from 8am to 2pm. The broadcast schedules are posted on the Ministry’s social media the day before. Lessons are carried out using tools such as Google Classroom, YouTube and TED-Ed. The government also created an education-only platform called Filaa.

The lockdown evidenced the existence of a digital gap in society. And in all countries and continents, measures have had to be taken to provide technological solutions to make learning from home possible, and to continue the progress of the academic year during this period of crisis. In Asia, one of the main challenges has been the struggle for educational equality, which is why the education ministries of several countries have transferred to schools the task of identifying those students without access to the Internet and electronic devices. Countries have chosen to broadcast lessons using traditional media such as television. Learning continuity at schools has been enabled by making use of free tools such as Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, YouTube, Google Suite, etc.

 For more information, see the website:

World Bank

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