Singapore best-prepared nation for remote learning

Photo by Matt Ragland
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Singapore is considered the best prepared nation globally when it comes to remote learning, but 69% of parents there believed their child’s primary or secondary schools were partly prepared or not prepared at all to facilitate this, according to Citrix.

Commissioned by Citrix, One Poll surveyed 3,500 parents with children between the ages of 6 and 18, and as many university students, in July and August 2020. The survey took place simultaneously in Australia, Germany, UK, Italy, Canada, Mexico, and Singapore. Participants from each country included 500 students and 500 parents.

By international comparison, Singapore’s transition to remote learning was the most ‘frictionless’ compared to the other countries surveyed, with 30% of the parents report a frictionless transition to remote learning, followed by Australia (25%) and Mexico (19%).

Hardware to access the courses and materials also wasn’t a struggle in Singapore with 55% of children already owning a device. Further 32% of parents bought a device for their children and 12% were using a shared family device.

This amount of access to hardware is – in global comparison – the best and shows that the country’s focus on digitalising its education sector, such as a national digital literacy programme to issue personal learning devices to all Secondary 1 students by 2024, is going in the right direction.

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“While (this) is encouraging, much more can be done to provide students with the flexibility to use their preferred apps and platforms to collaborate with their peers and teachers,” said Leanne Taylor, Citrix’s COO for  Asia Pacific & Japan.

“Faced with the ongoing threat of secondary waves, we need to ensure students are given opportunities to have the best remote learning experiences, from a productive and safe remote environment of their choosing,” said Taylor.

At the very top of the wish list of parents surveyed — better organisation of remote teaching (59%), more direct interaction with teachers via video (57%) and improving teachers’ remote teaching skills (45%).

Singaporean university students’ sentiment regarding online classes is more positive compared to parents’. For the future, the largest share of those surveyed (57%) prefer a hybrid model of on-site and online lectures, and 23% would even like to continue their entire studies online, even after social distancing measures are relaxed.

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