The Ministry of Education has extended the suspension of public and private schools until further notice. It will fill the educational gap with a distance learning programme accessible via television.

The ministry announced on Friday that it has instructed public schools to collaborate with parents, guardians and local authorities to promote the Distance Learning and E-Learning programmes to students.

It also advised public schools to “Set up a schedule for guardians to be present to ensure the safety and security of schools by regularly cleaning the campus [and] encouraging students to borrow textbooks to improve their autonomy and distance learning.”

Private schools were also instructed to keep their campuses clean while implementing the new learning programmes.

“The ministry encourages parents and students’ guardians to encourage their children to take part in home-schooling and distance learning.

“Parents should also look after their children with hygienic measures and keep them from places that have a high risk of infection (Covid-19),” the ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Sunday that rural students could receive the same education as urban students, as his ministry and the Ministry of Information signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Preparation, Production and Broadcasting of Distance Learning and E-Learning programmes.

“The Ministry of Education will provide lessons for all subjects and classes to the Ministry of Information to be broadcast on Satellite Decho TV’s new education channel [TVK2].

“Students in 25 provinces will be able to access lessons in all subjects and grade levels in the near future,” he said.

Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Hang Chuon Naron wrote on Facebook on Sunday that the distance learning programme will be broadcast from April 20 on Decho TV.

Students in towns and cities can find the lessons on cable TV, while students in rural areas can access the lessons with DTV satellite dishes. The lessons will also be available on smartphones.

Schools have been closed nationwide since mid-March following the Covid-19 outbreak. According to the Ministry of Education’s announcement, students are now required to take home-based and online courses organised by the ministry and its partners.

Government Diploma and Baccalaureate examinations have been postponed. But the ministry has allowed private schools to administer both examinations via distance learning or e-learning.

Nov Chanmony, a chemistry teacher at Hun Sen Boribor High School in Boribor district, Kampong Chhnang province, told The Post on Sunday that students living in the cities or towns can afford online classes but students in rural areas may find it more difficult because they do not have smartphones.

“Younger students may not know how to use phones, as they can be difficult. Older students know a bit more about it. If they are trying to learn from a TV, perhaps that’s better for rural students.” he said.

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