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Back to School in S. Korea A Staggered Start and Online: Firsthand experience from High School teacher Updated: 2020-04-02 17:21:20 KST

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting various parts of our lives one of which includes the closure of schools for our children.
A UNESCO survey shows closure of educational institutions are impacting over 89-percent of the world's student population.
South Korea has canceled the re-opening of schools next week as clusters of coronavirus infections flared here and there.
Rather, it's launching online classes while delaying the annual college entrance exams.
Authorities have postponed the beginning of the school semester three times from early March to April 6th and have decided to do so again, given the persistence of the outbreak.

"From April 9th, classes for the 2020 school year will gradually start for elementary, middle and high schools nationwide, except for kindergartens, but for the first time, classes will be taught online."

Home schooling for the nation's over 5.5 million elementary, middle and highschoolers - how will it work for the nation famous for its cut-throat education fervor?
It's the topic of our News In-Depth tonight.
Joining me live in the studio is Dr. Song Se-ryun, Professor of Law at Kyung Hee University and Ms. Ban Ji-hye, English teacher at Daewon International Middle School.
Thanks for joining us on the program.

So, back to school in South Korea will be a staggered start and online. Starting with high school and middle school seniors on April 9th.
And, then on April 16th - the rest of the high school and middle schoolers as well as the 4th to 6th graders.
On April 20th, those in the first and third grades will start online classes.
Professor Song, why the staggered start?

Ms. Ban, you teach English to middle school seniors and you have a homeroom as well. For the last couple of weeks that school has been closed, have you been in communication with your students at all?

How have the students been responding to the online materials? Have you been getting positive feedback?

How do the teachers, students, and parents feel about starting classes online next week?
Are they comfortable with using technology and gadgets?

What are your biggest worry heading into next week?

Professor Song, what are some pros and cons that we can anticipate from home schooling for the next couple of weeks? How long do we expect the actual schools to remain closed?

With the delay in start of the school year, the nation's highly competitive annual college entrance exam has also been delayed by two weeks to December 3rd.
What will this mean for those preparing to take the exam this year?

As educators, how do you expect this coronavirus pandemic to impact our students? Not only academically, but psychologically and emotionally even after this pandemic is over.

Dr. Song Se-ryun, Professor of Law at Kyung Hee University and Ms. Ban Ji-hye, English teacher at Daewon International Middle School, many thanks for being on our show tonight. We appreciate it.
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