30 April 2020, Bangkok – In response to the COVID-19 outbreak the Ministry of Education has postponed the start of term to 1 July 2020. FutureTales Lab by MQDC, ASEAN’s first private-sector futurology center, has analyzed the effects to gather information for parents, guardians, and educational staff.
Dr. Karndee Leopairote, Chief Advisor to the FutureTales Lab, said: “There is a major impact from schools being closed. A response plan is vital to reduce the impact on children, who are the future of the country.”
Ms. Wipattra Totemchokchaikarn, a Foresight Researcher at FutureTales Lab, said that “Web of Impact” analysis shows the direct and indirect effects, covering society, technology, economics, the environment, politics, and perceptions. The research spotlights 5 dangers for parents from the delayed start of school.
1.Mental health and limited nutrition
Children from needy families rely on breakfast and lunch at school. They may now experience malnutrition. Government and related agencies need to inform parents about child care and help look after children whose parents cannot supervise them. Another issue is mental health. Conflicts and domestic violence may occur more. Parents should provide quality family time. If more problems emerge, consult the mental health hotline (1323) of the Department of Mental Health.
2.Adjustment to online learning
Some schools have started to adapt to online teaching with courses for parents to participate in their children’s education. But many major challenges remain. Children also face online dangers such as threats or cyberbullying that parents may not know about.
3.Effects from economic disruption
Lockdown measures have hit the economy hard. Children might fall out of the education system to help with work at home. Families might also lack the income for school fees. Job opportunities for new graduates might be fewer or more competitive. Teens can experience heavy pressure and accumulate stress.
Every child should have a safe and suitable area for learning and living. Equitable Education Fund (EEF) found that over 30% of Thai children have no private room to study in or do their homework. Some children may also be left home alone, putting their safety at risk.
Schools and teachers may shift their focus. Online study may reduce the importance of classroom study or make “Hybrid Homeschooling” more prevalent. The value of studying abroad is also directly impacted. China is heavily affected in this respect, with international students now down to 21% of its educational institutions.
"FutureTales Lab by MQDC has analyzed the dangers from postponing the start of the school year to help the government, businesses, educational institutions, and the parents of all families to prepare for these scenarios and take better care in this situation of children, who are the future of the nation," said Ms. Wipattra.
FutureTales Lab by MQDC provides researchers, business partners, and the general public with open access to information and research works related to future studies. For more information, visit www.futuretaleslab.com.