Schools Closed

Countries worldwide have adopted measures to move classes and cultural activities online amid lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As schools are closed to slow the spread of the virus and safeguard the health and security of children and youth, it has become a pressing issue to meet students’ demand for continuous engagement in their studies.

Against this backdrop, the UN Children’s Fund and Microsoft Corp. last month announced the expansion of an online learning platform to help children and youth affected by COVID-19 continue their education at home.

The Learning Passport, originally designed to provide education for the displaced and refugee children through a remote digital learning platform, is now being applied to facilitate country-level curriculum for children and youth whose schools have been shut down due to the virus.

In Kenya, the Institute of Curriculum Development has collaborated with pay-TV operator StarTimes to launch online classes through a free-to-air channel as well as mobile application platform to ensure the majority of students have access to education.

Moreover, in a bid to sustain cultural traditions, as well as promote emotional well-being of citizens amid lockdowns, communities and institutions have boosted activities through online platforms to engage global consumers and audience.

Sri Lanka, the world’s leading tea exporter, moved its annual tea auction online last month for the first time.

As one of the largest and oldest ongoing tea auctions in the world, the Colombo Tea Auction this year has allowed more than 300 registered buyers and eight brokers to buy and sell remotely.

Lithuania and Bosnia and Herzegovina held their Chinese language competitions via online platforms over the weekend.

Before the contest, Balys Astrauskas, acting director of Vilnius University Confucius Institute in Lithuania, said this year’s “Chinese Bridge” competition is different from the previous ones. “We are not in one place today, instead at our own homes in various places in Lithuania.”

An online music festival dubbed StayHome #WithMe was launched by a group of African artists through YouTube live streaming, which is aimed at alleviating mental stress citizens have suffered under quarantine and social distancing.

Meanwhile, the Lang Lang International Music Foundation announced on Wednesday that it will stage “Play It Forward” Young Scholars online concert series every Friday starting from May 15, aiming to bring strength and comfort to more people amid the pandemic.

Lang Lang has had his performance recorded, which will be played at the concert together with the performances from his Young Scholars program — all for free.

China’s Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, on Sunday presented its summer views and traditional Chinese culture to the public through livestreaming ahead of International Museum Day, which falls on Monday.

Echoing the theme of this year’s Museum Day, “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion,” the livestreaming is available on Chinese news platforms and short video services, including TikTok and Kuaishou. Enditem

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