Austrade regional market update on impact of COVID-19 23 June

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
  • Europe
  • Middle East and Africa
  • North Asia
  • Latin America
  • North America
  • South Asia

Association of South East Asian Nations

Indonesia

  • Corporate interests, both domestic and international are working with Indonesia to deliver educational content during COVID-19.
    • The Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC) has officially partnered with Netflix, to televise home learning programs. Starting 20 June, 2020, Netflix will broadcast documentaries through the Indonesian National Television (TVRI). Education Minister Nadiem Makarim, outlined that the Home Learning Program (through the TVRI), is intended to help students, parents and teachers who have limited internet access.
    • Telkomsel, the largest telecommunication company in Indonesia, has launched a free package called Ilmupedia (translates to Knowledge-pedia), which allows students from various universities, to access e-learning services via major Indonesian educational apps including Quipper, Zenius, Udemy, Sekolah.mu, Rumah Belajar, Cakap, and Bahaso, as well as other campus e-learning websites.

Myanmar

  • While the spread of the COVID-19 virus appears to have slowed, Myanmar authorities have encouraged the public to remain careful, to avoid a second wave of contamination. On 12 June 2020, the government announced an extension of the current set of preventive measures until 30 June. For instance, wearing a mask in public will remain compulsory, and the curfew from midnight to 4.00am will remain enforced.
  • In order to continue an effective response, Myanmar has decided to also extend the imposed entry restriction measures until 30 June 2020. The restrictions include:
    • Precautionary measures for all travelers visiting Myanmar: and
    • Temporary suspension of all types of visas (including social visit visas, visa on arrival and e-visa), and visa exemption services.
  • Meanwhile, several measures will be significantly relaxed:
    • In Yangon, semi-lockdown orders for all the townships have been lifted, except in Insein, where a cluster still exits.
    • Gatherings of more than five people are now allowed in government departments, organisations, companies, factories and workshops as well as in public, private and monastic schools in accordance with the health ministry guidelines.
    • Domestic airlines have also resumed flights.
  • The Minister for Education participated as a panelist in a DFAT-World Bank joint webinar: The COVID-19 Pandemic: Shocks to Education and Policy Responses. The Minister spoke about the delivery of online training for teachers. Feedback so far demonstrates a great response throughout the country.. The Ministry of Education is planning to distribute over 20 million face masks and other disease-prevention items to students, teachers and other education staff as they prepare to reopen schools on 13 July.

The Philippines

  • Opportunities to engage in large scale training for organisations that offer Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) jobs, is foreseen in the coming months. This is based on major IT-BPO companies announcing that they would need 4,000 roles to be filled by this September, upskilling/reskilling will be critical to meet industry needs under the new normal.
  • Opportunities exist for edtech organisations to work with the Philippine National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), underscored by the importance of digital transformation in the private sector and most especially, in government offices. According to NEDA Secretary Karl Chua, structural reforms are important to allow the government to continue to provide social services and training and for people and businesses to be able to transact with the government. Learning programs such as using electronic media in facilitating training, developing blended training curriculum, and facilitating online learning sessions are needed to help the government upskill the workforce amidst the pandemic.
  • DFAT assisted the creation of a multi-platform communication system in support of the implementation of the Philippine Department of Education’s (DepEd) Learning Continuity Plan in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The communication system includes SMS gateway service or text blasts, a mechanism for virtual meetings, remote work collaboration, revival of the Ministry’s Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE) radio station, the use of a two-way radio communication for communities not covered by SMS or the Internet and mobilising teachers and volunteers to be sent to crucial areas in the region.

Thailand

  • Austrade Bangkok has launched its contribution to the #InThisTogether initiative. Representatives from 35 Australian education institutions contributed video messages of support and encouragement to students and education agents in Thailand and Laos, and looking forward to welcoming them back to Australia. The two videos (in Thai and in English) are now live on the StudyAU Official YouTube Channel.
  • From 1 July, Thai schools will be able to re-open as scheduled. This will occur in shifts, with two groups alternating between online and on campus study.
  • Thailand’s Office of the Civil Service Commission has accredited online degrees, for its civil servants. Previously, applicants for government positions needed to hold degrees gained only through on-campus study. The rules have now changed to reflect the current situation, where many students have had to revert to online study during the recent lockdown measures.
  • UK specialist education agents in Thailand have advised that several UK universities have launched new policies to reduce both the academic entry requirements and IELTS scores in order to attract more students from Thailand to the UK next year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities have offered January as an additional intake for new international students. Usually, the majority of students commence their academic year in September.
  • Thailand’s education agents association, TIECA is working with the Chinese Government’s education promotion agency to organise a Study in China exhibition in Bangkok in October this year. Around 100 education institutions from China are expected to participate in the event.

Vietnam

  • As of 19 June, Vietnam has been 64 days without any cases of community transmission. 325 affected patients out of the 342 confirmed COVID-19 cases have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. Most recent confirmed cases are all people who arrived in Vietnam with COVID-19 who were then sent immediately to centralised quarantine.
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