Author Topic: covid-learn - Net problems beset online schooling bid  (Read 1001 times)

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covid-learn - Net problems beset online schooling bid
« on: May 14, 2020, 11:30:50 AM »
Net problems beset online schooling bid

Schools to get IT gear for July 1 start

The Education Ministry is testing an online teaching and learning system scheduled to launch for the new school term on July 1, although 10% of students were found to have no access to the internet at home.

Some of those lacking access to the online teaching and learning system live without electricity, while others do not have internet connections or computers, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said on Wednesday.

His comments were delivered while leading a test-run on an online teaching and learning system at Wachiratham Sathit School in Phra Khanong district of Bangkok on Wednesday.

To resolve these problems, the minister said he would ask the Digital Economy and Society Ministry to provide additional equipment to schools to ensure all students have access to the system.

The internet-based teaching and learning system will be associated with a long-distance learning system, said Mr Nataphol.

Students without the required learning equipment at home will have to go to their schools to attend online classes instead, but the maximum number of students allowed will be limited to 20 per class to ensure social distancing, he said.

At Wachiratham Sathit School, more than 1,000 teachers and students as well as their parents took part in Wednesday's test run of the online teaching and learning system, said Mr Nataphol.

A survey on Wednesday during the test run found 77% of students were ready for the arrival of the online learning system while the rest had more work to do, he said. On the plus side, the school's IT facilities and digital learning resources are thought to be in good shape, which should cater well those children forced to study there.

To ensure every student has access to the system, teachers were assigned to supervise and assist those students who needed additional help, said Mr Nataphol. All teachers at the school have completed training on computer programs such as Microsoft Team, Zoom and Google Meet to implement online teaching and learning, he said.

Also, the Education Ministry today is launching an associated long-distance teaching and learning system, jointly developed and implemented by the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and the Distance Learning Foundation under the Royal Patronage that operates Distance Learning Television.

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Education Ministry to launch 17 new free learning channels

With many schools being closed for the foreseeable future due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Education Ministry is collaborating with the Distance Learning Foundation under Royal Patronage and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to start providing lessons via 17 free-to-air channels.

Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said if students are unable to return to school, these channels along with an online one can be turned into a main source of lessons.

The ministry has postponed the first semester of this year from May to July 1 in response to the outbreak.

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Re: covid-learn - Distance learning system to be tested on May 18
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2020, 11:47:40 AM »
Distance learning system to be tested on May 18

(NNT) - With children having to study from home due to the coronavirus disease COVID-19 pandemic, the Distance Learning Foundation is helping the Ministry of Education set up distance learning and teaching programs via the digital television system, after the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) agreed to allow students to access education through 17 TV channels.

Privy Councilor, Gen. Dapong Ratanasuwan, in his capacity as executive chairman of the Distance Learning Foundation, said today that his foundation will provide educational courses from kindergarten to junior high school level, and the Ministry of Education will schedule classes on 12 channels. Three other channels will provide education to students between 10th and 12th grades, with all courses to be provided by the ministry. The remaining two channels will offer vocational education as well as non-formal and informal education.

The Education Minister, Nataphol Teepsuwan, mentioned that schools will reopen, after the COVID-19 situation is resolved. Social distancing will remain in effect initially, and students may have to take turns attending school and continue studying from educational TV channels.

In normal times, distance learning requires a satellite receiver. In the next six months, students will be able to access distance learning programs on digital TV channels 37 to 53. The Ministry of Education will test the system on May 18 this year, and will start operating on July 1. To watch these channels, people can simply unplug their digital set-top TV box to enable automatic updates.

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Re: covid-learn - Can COVID-19 kick-start long-distance learning?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2020, 11:10:08 AM »
Can COVID-19 kick-start long-distance learning?

The debate over when Thailand’s schools should reopen has become highly politicized, but it has also led to an intriguing question of whether Thai students are prepared for an increase in “distance learning”.

The debate was triggered by the Government’s decision to start the new semester on July 1st, giving almost ten million students an extra month of school break, due to the spread of COVID-19.

Nattakorn Devakula, a news presenter on Voice TV, strongly criticized the decision, because the number of daily new infections has been steadily decreasing, according to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). He insists that the country’s educational institutions should open sooner.

On May 13th, Thailand reported no infections or fatalities for the first time since the virus got a foothold in the country at the beginning of this year.

Nattakorn said schools in many countries have already reopened, after their governments eased lockdown restrictions. He is adamant that schools in Thailand should reopen on time, especially kindergartens and primary schools.

He believes children should spend as much time as possible involved in group activities, like classes, to develop their social skills. If the schools stay closed, he says their education will not produce fully rounded members of society.

Thailand’s Minister of Education pointed out that the strict anti-viral measures, currently being imposed on all sectors of Thai society, had to be extended by another month and his ministry is trying to provide and improve online education, not just for now, but for the future development of the country post COVID-19.

We have prepared vocational and non-formal education for those who will benefit, including for disabled and disadvantaged children. Our goal is to ensure, no matter what their situation, that every Thai child has ready access to a good quality education, said a deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education.

Meanwhile, some students seem quite relaxed about the postponement of the start of the school semester. Grade 8 student, Phuvarish Mailama, said he is quite happy not to go to school until July 1st, adding “I have more time to chill out at home, which is great!”

What concerns him the most, though, is being required to go back to class, knowing that COVID-19 is still spreading. Phuvarish doesn’t have problem with distance learning, but prefers to go to school because he misses his classmates and teachers.

Like most students from a middle-class family, Phuvarish is fully-equipped for online classes. He said studying at school or at home doesn’t really matter. He just wants to study with his peers.

Not every school has to comply with Ministry of Education’s decision to delay the start of term. International and demonstration schools can set their own dates. Ramkhamhaeng Demonstration School, Elementary level, plans to start the next semester on June 1st. If, by then, the pandemic is under control, students will attend school on alternate days, and complete the assignments on the days they are not at the school.

One big problem with distance learning, however, is that elementary students are too young to be left alone in the house to study, if their parents have to go out to work.

Pamornrat Inthamattayakul worries about this, because her 8 year old daughter is to start Grade 2 next semester. “There are only two of us in our family. Whenever my daughter studies online, I am supposed to stay home with her. I can work from home that day, but I might have to go to the office if I have a meeting. I would have to take her to the office with me” she said.

Pamornrat also noticed that, when her child is in a normal classroom and does not understand something, she would keep quiet rather than ask the teacher. “With online classes, it would be worse. She definitely won’t ask any questions and may be unable to comprehend anything. This is the reason why I have to be with her during the online learning.”

Those who disagree with online learning question its effectiveness. Chananikant Khlibthon, tutor and instructor at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, believes that online learning is an ineffective way of teaching, judging by student academic performance. She also says that many parents do not agree with online learning either, because it seems that many students do not understand the lessons as well as they do when they are in the classroom. She estimates that around 80% of the students she knows do not absorb the key points of the lessons.

It is a sad fact that the majority of Thai students perform poorly in most subjects, when compared to their peers in other countries. For instance, in December 2019, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released its 2018 worldwide Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranking.

PISA examinations aim to evaluate educational systems by measuring scholastic performance, in mathematics, science and reading, of 15-year-old pupils, and take place every three years. Thailand still ranks significantly behind most countries participating in the evaluation, coming 60th out of 79 nations. Thai students’ performance is far below the international average in every subject. In math, Thailand ranked 56th, 52nd for science and 66th for reading. The results have showed little improvement since 2015’s ranking, and many people are worried that long-distance learning will make things worse.

The limitations of online learning also worry Assistant Professor Dr. Rattapong Boonyanuwat. He said the preparedness of teachers should be taken into account as well. “Usually, there is a mix of old and young teachers in a school. I am worried about the older teachers, who not familiar with new teaching methods. It is important that schools train teachers first”.

In countries like Denmark and Norway, students have already returned to school. In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said primary schools in England could reopen, for some year groups, from June 1st at the earliest. Secondary schools, however, are likely to stay closed until September.

In Scotland, the government has been warned that fully reopening primary schools will increase the risk of “overwhelming” the National Health Service (NHS).

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Students, parents highlight problems on first day of govt’s online learning



Netizens, both students and parents, complained of being hit by a variety of problems on the first day of online and satellite distance learning today (May 18).

Today is the first day the Education Ministry organised online learning for students nationwide via six channels – digital TV, Ku-Band and C-Band satellite TV, the Distance Learning Television (DLTV) website, smartphone application, and YouTube channels.

The hashtag #เรียนออนไลน์ (studying online) was ranked as the number one trending topic on Twitter as netizens voiced their problems that included no learning materials, inappropriate teaching media, technical issues, unable to note content in time and website crashes.

Students must register to attend classes running from 8.30am to 2.30pm under the supervision of their parents.

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Families adapt as new school term starts – at home
Online learning hit trouble as the first day of the term got underway at 8.30am in Mukdahan yesterday. Some families in the northeastern province scrambled to provide television, necessary for their children to study via Distance Learning TV while schools remain shut under lockdown restrictions. Others were using laptop computers as learning equipment, while in some households older siblings at university were helping to tutor their younger sisters and brothers.  nationthailand.com










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Concern grow over poor kids ‘locked out’ of online school



Many Thai children have found themselves unable to begin their new school term, as they have no smartphone or internet to access the online classes.

The problem has become a hot topic among netizens after cases emerged in Nakhon Ratchasima province of children prevented from joining online classes.

Samran, 54, said that her grandsons are studying in Prathom 2 and Prathom 6, but their family is so poor that they cannot use the internet.

Meanwhile, Pat, 60, said that her four grandchildren are studying in Prathom 1, 4, 6 and Mathayom 1 but also had no way of starting their semester. She said that since the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown, her family has barely had enough money for daily necessities.

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Many parents finding online lessons ‘far too expensive’

Parents in Chiang Mai are calling on the government to reopen schools soon because online classes can be unaffordable for some families.

Ploysai Saengsuwan, 43, said her two daughters are meant to attend online classes, but she does not have the funds to purchase a television, computer and iPad as instructed by the school. The school also requires that she have a broadband connection in her house to make online classes possible.

She said that since Covid-19 hit Thailand, her income as a masseur has completely dried up and now she is having to rely on the state-provided aid packages to feed her children.

Another parent, Nut Lummong, 45, said she had been forced to find more money so her son could attend classes online.

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Students unable to attend online classes ‘won’t be left behind’

The Education Ministry announced on Monday (May 18) that it had no intention to burden parents and put the online schooling system’s breakdown on high internet traffic.

Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan also said that 80 per cent of the schools across the nation will open for the new semester on July 1, except for those in high-risk zones such as in Bangkok and Phuket, which will remain closed to prevent infections.

He added that online lessons are only serving as additional classes for students in Mathayom 4 to 6 levels who have the equipment, while the 10 per cent who do not own tablets or computers will be given extra classes when schools reopen so they catch up.

The minister also said parents were not being forced to purchase digital devices or install the internet if they cannot afford it. He added that students who are not able to attend online classes will not suffer any negative impacts.

He also said that the system possibly broke down because parents did not know how to connect correctly, adding that his ministry will discuss the problem with the Cabinet and Digital Economy and Society Ministry on May 25.

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Re: covid-learn - outdoor classes for underprivileged students
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2020, 05:58:13 PM »
Khon Kaen school launches outdoor classes for underprivileged students

A school in Khon Kaen province is holding outdoor lessons for students who lack internet or digital devices to access online learning.

With schools nationwide closed under anti-virus restrictions, the government on Monday (May 18) launched a programme of home learning via television and online channels.

However, Ban Non Chai Municipal School is providing weekly classes outdoors for students who have difficulty accessing the online courses.

The underprivileged students are being given classes in creative technology, civic education, and handicrafts, from 1am to 4pm each Monday.

Sunya Makarin, a teacher at Ban Non Chai School, said the children are interested in studying and want to be taught every day.

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Re: covid-learn - Free internet for poor students planned
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2020, 11:38:46 AM »
Free internet for poor students planned

The Education Ministry has called on the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry to provide internet connections to underprivileged students so they can study online via channels provided by the government during the Covid-19 crisis period.

The ministry can provide internet connections in areas where TOT and CAT networks have been installed, DES Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta said.

The minister also said that internet connections will be provided for free for three months in homes that are not linked up.

“This contract will be for one year, but users will only be charged Bt390 per month for the nine months,” he said, adding “around 100,000 internet device sets have been prepared”.

Based on statistics, 7.7 households in Thailand are connected to the internet, and out of them 200,000 use CAT, 1.5 million TOT, 2 million Triple T Broadband (3BB), 3 million True and 1 million AIS.

In areas where CAT and TOT have not been installed, DES will talk with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to see if a deal can be achieved with the private internet providers.

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Re: covid-learn - People learning new skills online
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2020, 12:15:29 AM »
People learning new skills online



With most people having to stay home to avoid infections, online classes are becoming more popular as they learn new skills for life in the “new normal”.

The Labour Ministry said more people are attending online vocational classes led by the Department of Skills Development.

Judging by the number of views, the most popular classes have been:

- English: 27,188 views

- Air-condition technician: 13,062

- Korean language: 10,378

- Japanese: 10,222

- Thai cooking classes: 8,828

- Basic electrician skills: 7,761

- Basic auto mechanic: 7,022

- Basic motorcycle mechanic: 6,437

- Laptop repair: 5,850

- Television repair: 2,263

With many businesses preparing to reopen, the department hopes people who have lost their jobs will be able to apply their newfound knowledge to get new employment.

Those interested can visit www.dsd.go.th for online classes (available in Thai only).

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Udon Thani calls up special Covid measures as schools prepare to reopen
Authorities in Udon Thani have turned old street furniture into anti-virus weapons as part of “new normal” measures to tackle Covid-19 when schools restart next week.

More than 4,000 sinks have been modified from public telephone booths, oil tanks and old school desks. The Northeast province will also adopt other defensive measures when schools reopen from July 1, such as mandatory temperature checking, mask wearing, and social distancing in each classroom.

All education institutions have been told to arrange seats at least on metre apart, to allow four square metres of space for each student, said governor Wanchai Chanporn.

Local authorities have checked schools and separated them into three groups: ready to reopen, in need of improvement before reopening, or failing to meet public health standards.

Seventy-two primary schools were judged ready to reopen, but six must make improvements. Of the total 141 high schools, 124 will be allowed to reopen while 17 needed to be improve.

The findings will be put to the educational committee of Udon Thani, said the governor.

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Ministry gives relief to parents through discounted school supplies
The Commerce Ministry is offering discounts of up to 80 per cent on more than 1,605 school supplies until July 15 as relief to the parents of some 10.7 million students.

Democrat Party spokesman Ramet Rattanachaweng said on Saturday (June 27) that Democrat Party leader and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit's move to cut the price of school supplies will help reduce parents' expenses by not less than Bt1 billion in total.

"This move aims to relieve the financial burden of people, as many are still suffering from difficulties in their daily lives due to the Covid-19 outbreak, while more youngsters are enrolling in schools this year," he said.

He added that the move was consistent with the party's mission to provide education for children as well."

Discounted items include school uniforms, school shoes, socks, bags, textbooks, stationery and teaching materials.

"People can buy discounted items until July 15 this year," he added. "Aside from reducing parents' expenses, this move also will help generate revenue of not less than Bt5 billion for the country."

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Schools reopen across Thailand with temperature checks, masks


Students from the Wichuthit school eat their lunch in Bangkok, Thailand.

Thai schools reopened on Wednesday for the first time since mid-March, with precautions in place to guard against the coronavirus, ranging from temperature checks to installing makeshift cubicles for social distancing in classrooms.

At Sam Khok school, about 50 km (31 miles) north of Bangkok, nearly 5,000 students were told to self-quarantine at home for 15-days prior to the re-start as an extra precaution, Principal Chuchart Thiengtham said.

“Once students arrive at school, teachers hand face masks to them because it’s mandatory to wear them,” said Chuchart, adding that face shields were also provided to pupils for additional safety during some activities.

Students also get their temperatures checked and a facial recognition scanner automatically sends a message to parents, he said.

In the classroom, the school has turned cardboard ballot boxes used in elections into partitions to ensure social distancing between desks. “I feel good studying behind the box because it makes me feel safer returning to school,” said student Kanlaya Srimongkhol.


Students from the Wichuthit school attend a computer class.

However, 17-year-old Soponwich Thianthong said while he felt more secure the partitions could be irritating because it limited his field of vision.

nypost.com
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