|A teacher practices giving an online lecture at Seoul Girls' High School in Mapo-gu, Seoul, Thursday, after the education ministry announced it was considering introducing online classes if the spread of COVID-19 shows few signs of slowing down by April 6, the rescheduled start date for the spring semester. /Yonhap|
By Bahk Eun-ji
Many parents are expressing concerns over the government's move to introduce online classes for elementary, middle and high school students starting April 6 as the spread of COVID-19 shows little sign of abating.
Education authorities have delayed the spring semester by five weeks amid the spread of the highly-contagious virus and schools are set to begin their academic year on April 6.
With continuing concerns over possible mass infections in classrooms, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said it is considering opening online classes so that students can take classes on computers at home rather than come to schools. The ministry came up with the plan to help schools meet the statutory required number of school days this year.
However, many parents are skeptical about the online courses and wonder if the ministry is sufficiently prepared for the implementation of online schooling.
Eileen Kim, an office worker and mother of a nine-year-old daughter, said working parents will still be struggling if their children are required to take their classes at home.
"Under the situation over the virus epidemic in the country, I fully understand about the MOE's decision to delay the opening of the spring semester. However, working parents still have to find someone to take care of their children at home while they are taking online classes," Kim said.
Lee Jae-yun, a homemaker and mother of three primary school students, said the online classes do not sound like a realistic solution for her family.
"I have three kids and all of them have to attend online classes while we have only one desktop computer at home. How can we manage the situation?" Lee said.
According to the Enforcement Decree of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, heads of schools can remotely operate classes using information and communication media. However, many schools are not equipped to operate online curriculum.