400+ people have died because of the coronavirus in Mainland China. To curb the spread and contagion, the government had to shut down the schools. Whole semester are getting delayed and those students who were preparing for college entrance examinations are left in fray and frenzy.
But like always, China has a way out of their biggest viral problem and unsurprisingly, it involves technology. China’s Ministry of Education issued a statement last week to push schools to use internet platforms as an alternative way of teaching students amid the suspension of the new semester.
Schools are now teaching its teachers to live-stream their classes. Alibaba Group’s DingTalk is one such tool that allows them to keep teaching the children who are no longer permitted to attend the schools. Many older teachers are now having a tough time learning the new generation tools as they strive to keep teaching the traditional subjects to the younger generation.
As per South China Morning Post,
Suddenly, the spotlight is on China’s online education market, which grew 25.7% year on year in 2018 to 251.7 billion yuan (US$35.9 billion), according to iResearch Consulting Group. The previous forecast of annual growth of between 16% to 24% in the subsequent three to five years may now need to be revised upwards.
Companies are also stepping up to deal with the crisis.
TAL Education announced free live-streaming courses for all grades to “minimise the influence on study due to the outbreak” while VIPKID, which specialises in teaching English online, said on Weibo it would offer 1.5 million free online courses to children aged from four to 12.
As of Sunday, more than 220 education bureaus in 20 Chinese provinces had joined the free-of-charge DingTalk homeschool programme, covering over 20,000 primary and secondary schools and 12 million students, according to state media Xinhua.
Meanwhile, many Chinese students who are studying abroad may be safe medically but are worrying for their families back home. Recently, a Chinese girl from Wuhan (which is where the coronavirus started) who is now living in HongKong took to Twitter to appeal to the world to be kinder to the people from Wuhan who have been facing wrath from the media worldwide.
Tensions may be fraught between the United States and China, but there are still 370,000 Chinese students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. My own alma mater, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign houses nearly 6000 of them. They are filled with anxiety as every day brings them news of more deaths of their dear ones or new travel bans.
When such contagion arise at this scale, we suddenly realize how powerless we are. And I believe its only technology and entrepreneurship that can help survive these challenges. No, I am forgetting the important thing – the indefatigable human spirit.
China is not surrendering. Its students & teachers are fighting back one video at a time.
Click to read the referred article on SCMP here.