Austrade regional market update on impact of COVID-19 8 July

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:

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

South East Asia

Myanmar

  • Government-sanctioned preventative measures against COVID-19 remain in force until 15 July. The main regulations still in place include the following:
    • All commercial international flights and all visa issuing remain suspended
    • Wearing facial masks in public spaces remains compulsory
    • An enforced curfew is in place from midnight to 4am
    • Mass gatherings, such as marriages or religious ceremonies remain tightly restricted
  • With the support of the Ministry of Education, local edtech company 360ed has launched a Universe Learning Platform. This platform has been donated in collaboration with M Pride, aiming to provide free tutoring applications for grade two and three English courses. The app supports teachers in preparing their curriculum, while offline features assist during electricity blackouts in rural areas, as well as interactive learning using AR and 4D learning support.
  • The Myanmar Government plans to provide cash support to 300,000 students who are in need of financial assistance in the new academic year. The cash support is aimed to ensure that students from the poor financial backgrounds stay in school. Since 2014, with the help of the World Bank and partner organisations, the government has supported students with financial needs in 57 townships in Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, Bago, Magwe and Mandalay regions and states.
  • The Education Ministry has set the start of the academic year for high schools to 21 July, with primary and middle schools reopening two weeks later.

Malaysia

  • As of 1 July, the Ministry of Education announced a staggered reopening for remaining school years starting from 15 July for the rest of secondary and upper primary, and 22 July for lower primary students. Sports and co-curricular activities however will continue to be restricted. These changes are applicable to all government schools, government-aided schools, private schools and any learning institutions registered with the Ministry of Education.
  • The Ministry of Education has also indicated that universities will be able to reopen campuses for face-to-face teaching to all students in the coming month.
  • The UK Government has recently promoted the new streamlined immigration route for graduates. The Graduate Route will be available from 2021, allowing students starting in 2020 to stay and work, or look for work in the UK, at any skill level for two years. This comes along with the push for Malaysian students to continue to consider UK universities and programs regardless of travel restrictions.

The Philippines

  • The General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila has been extended until 15 July due to a rise in confirmed cases and virus hotspots. Metro Manila along with 11 other areas in Luzon and Visayas region are in GCQ, while Cebu City remains under stricter lockdown (Enhanced Community Quarantine). The rest of the Philippines has been placed under Modified General Community Quarantine — the most relaxed phase, wherein public transportation may resume, very limited gatherings are allowed and businesses may resume operations at half capacity. Most major organisations are still opting to work from home to reduce exposure.
  • The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Philippines’ VET regulatory body has been developing free online courses for management in response to COVID-19. The aim is to increase the knowledge and deployment of safety practices and prevention against the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, while commuting or in public places for essential activities. These courses were developed compiling relevant programs from third party experts and made available via the TESDA Online Program.
  • Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade launched from 1 July 2020 “A Future That Works” program in partnership with the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) and the International Labour Association (ILO). This 17- month initiative is aiming at better aligning training and skills development with emerging labour market needs and supporting the Philippines through its digital transformation amidst the COVID-19 disruption. This program presents opportunities for Australian education providers to collaborate with Philippine education and industry stakeholders around competency frameworks, skills maps and standards development, skills assessments and evidenced-informed training programs matched to industry needs. [Source: DFAT, 2020]
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