Europe, which did not respond right way after the outbreak of a novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in Wuhan, China, was not fully prepared for online education. Many European countries have turned to distance learning as a result of quarantine policy introduced as part of preventive measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Most schools on the continent were closed on March 16, while in some countries as Sweden and Iceland, under observance of the social distance rules, schools remained open.
In Brussels, public schools were not able to introduce a common distance learning system. According to Anadolu Ajansı, in Belgium, teachers of primary, secondary and higher education institutions began to send students homework via e-mail, failing to create an “interactive” education system after school holidays. However, Belgian private schools providing education in different languages have begun to develop their own online learning systems. Those schools that use on-line educational platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom are trying to keep in touch with students and give online lessons daily.
In Germany, a decision was made, according to which, schools will gradually start to reopen from 4 May. In Berlin, most teachers send homework to students weekly or every few days via email. Students e-mail the homework done back to teachers, and study subjects using special applications on computers. In Bremen, teachers teach their students via video conference lessons or upload assignments to pages specially created on the Internet. German universities are also preparing for digital education, preparing videos that will be available to students at any time.
The French Ministry of Education was unable to provide teachers with comprehensive digital programs for remote distance learning. Though, the ministry has launched an online portal, Ma classe à la maison (My class at home) that provides access to educational content and learning opportunities, the surveys showed that only one out of four teachers can use this application. 800 thousand teachers in the country are trying by their own tools and efforts to provide steady education for students. A large number of teachers carry out lessons using video calls in WhatsApp and Teams, or using Zoom platform.
In Spain, on March 14, all schools and universities have been closed across the country, and education in primary and secondary schools continues with very limited opportunities via the Internet. The High School Graduation Examinations scheduled for late June or for the first half of July.
In the UK, from March 20, the private school students started to attend classes via video conference. However, the public school students remained at holidays for another month. Meanwhile, BBC has launched a series of daily educational programmes designed to allow children to study key national curriculum topics while Britain’s schools are closed.
All schools have been closed, when Switzerland declared a state of emergency on March 16. Schools switched to remote education using a system similar to that used in Turkey. Students continue their studies in virtual online classes. The federal government announced an easing in three steps of measures aimed at combatting the pandemic. The deliberate approach to loosening the lockdown is based on recommendations from experts and the weighing of a number of factors, including the reducing of COVID-19 cases. Starting from May 11, schools for children of compulsory-school age would re-open. Next phase would start on June 8 and see the re-opening of upper secondary and vocational schools, plus universities and other higher education institutions.