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Home Schooling: What's Going on Around The Globe?

By Talk Education
21 January 2021

The doors of our UK schools are firmly shut for now – but what’s going on in the rest of the world? As we prepare for the imminent launch of our global schools guide, we've quizzed our crack team of international researchers to find out what's going on in their patch – and reassure us that, no, it’s not just us… 

Asia
 

It’s a very mixed picture across Asia. In
Malaysia, all schools are closed again and have returned to online learning; in Thailand, schools have gone in and out of closure (at the time of writing, schools in Bangkok are closed, while those in Phuket are gradually reopening), while in India, schools are currently reopening in phases, state-by-state (they’re currently open in Delhi, but remain closed in Mumbai). Over in South Korea, schools in Seoul are currently closed - but those on Jeju Island remain open. 

Infection rates are relatively low in
Vietnam - which means schools are open and operating as close to ‘normal’ as possible. However, there’s a strict cap on student numbers to limit the risk of transmission (which means some schools are operating on alternate days). 

In
Taiwan, Japan and China, schools remain largely open, but with the threat of closures constantly looming in the background if local virus cases rise.  

In
Singapore, international schools have remained open since the new school year started in August – but with restrictions in place (campuses are off limits to parents; everyone on site must wear a mask and group activities – such as sport – are limited). Pupils at international schools in Hong Kong are staying at home, for now – the closures are set to be reviewed after Chinese New Year (which falls in mid-February), but it’s likely schools will stay shut beyond that point. 

United Arab Emirates 

Dubai and Abu Dhabi have taken different approaches to school closures. All private schools in Dubai currently remain open (bar a few, who have made their own decision to close), and it is up to each individual school to decide what approach they take; some are still welcoming pupils full time; others are alternating between different year groups each week. 

All schools in Abu Dhabi are currently shut, with a full programme of home schooling rolled out. Originally, parents were told the closures would only last for the first two weeks of January, but a further three-week extension was announced last week. 


USA

The situation in the USA remains very state-dependent; on the whole, schools are closed – but different states are free to take their own approach. 

Most day schools across the country are following a hybrid model, with pupils in school for two days a week, then remote learning for the rest of the week (or half a day in school, the other half at home). A few remain exclusively online – but it’s a trend that is becoming less and less acceptable to parents. 

As for boarding schools: most of the smaller and mid-size schools are going back in full over the next couple of weeks, while larger schools plan to continue with remote learning right through until mid-March.

Australia

The long summer holidays are in full swing in Australia, with pupils set to return to school as normal on 28th January. That said, despite Covid-19 being largely under control, there’s always the lingering threat of a new localised outbreak, however small - and parents are very conscious that they might be asked to lock down again at any moment. 

Europe

Across Europe, the outlook remains varied. France has decided against closing its schools again, instead vowing to ramp up mass testing for pupils and staff. Portugal has just entered a new strict lockdown – but schools remain open. In Germany, schools are firmly shut. 

Remote learning has been a fixture at schools in
Italy since last October, but senior-school pupils have now been permitted to return (with strict caps on classroom occupancy). 

Luxembourg recently sent its pupils back to the classroom; and in Russia, senior-school children returned this week – with prep schools keeping their doors closed.

Schools in
Switzerland remain open, but anyone flying into the country to come back to a boarding school from abroad must quarantine before returning.