Microsoft and Education Ministries across Asia enable remote learning for millions of students during COVID-19

Physical classrooms across
Asia, like this Japanese High School, were recreated online during the onset of


SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 9 June 2020 - Since the
onset of the pandemic early this year, education ministries across Asia have
pushed for mass migrations online, with the help of  Microsoft Teams,
Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, enabling millions of students to continue to
learn from home. Beyond ensuring lesson continuity, schools have been
facilitating real-time interactivity between teachers and students in class
while enabling students to discover, create and share.


Widespread shift to remote learning

Finding and deploying the right tools
quickly was instrumental in managing the seismic shift in the education
landscape caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


In Vietnam, the Ministry of
Education and Training
deployed Microsoft Teams in a record time of 27
hours for more than 200 schools in Hai Phong city. In over 2 months,
Teams was successfully adopted for more than 3.3 million teachers and students
from primary and secondary schools, high schools and institutes of higher
learning across the country.

Similarly, the Tokyo Metropolitan
Board of Education
adopted Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 Education to create
a conducive and interactive environment online. This was launched in early May for
more than 160,000 students and 20,000 teachers across 253 Tokyo Metropolitan
high schools, special needs schools and other schools administered by the Board
of Education.


Educational institutions were also pressed to re-create the physical
classroom experience. In Taiwan, the Ministry of Education (MoE)
enabled 2.5 million students and 200,000 teachers from grade schools to
universities to learn remotely using free Office 365 and Microsoft Teams accounts
tied to their National IDs. The fusion of Office 365 apps and Teams allowed for
seamless sharing of presentations and documents, while other apps like Microsoft
Whiteboard for Windows 10 facilitated productive remote discussions in
real-time. Online lessons were recorded and stored automatically in Office
365's video service Microsoft Stream for students to review at their own time.


Huan-Chao Keh, President of Tamkang University in Taiwan, said, "In light of
the number of students affected by the travel restrictions, we were quick to
implement several precautionary and mitigation measures. With our IT staff and
the Microsoft team working around the clock to make the course content
available for the instructors, as well as the strong support of all the faculty
members, we are confident that we helped minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our
students' education."


Exploring new ways to teach and learn

The integration of applications on
Office 365 and Microsoft Teams also included Minecraft: Education Edition and Flipgrid, which were made available at no
extra cost to students in Thailand. There, the Ministry of Higher
Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI)
teamed up with partners
LannaCom and Microsoft to provide access to Office 365 A1 and Microsoft Teams
for over 150 universities across the country, covering more than 60,000
educators and 2 million students.


Dr. Suvit Maesincee, Minister of
Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) Thailand, said: "We turned
this COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity by allowing students from all universities
across Thailand to continue their education through a 100% online learning
system. This takes the learning experience to a higher level in line with
modern learning methods -- an outside-the-classroom learning that goes beyond a
simple video conferencing experience."


Upscaling with Microsoft Azure

To cope with the volume of learning
taking place online, the Educational Broadcasting System (EBS) in South
deployed Microsoft's cloud Azure to expand its system's service
capacity by 500 times within two weeks, granting access to 3 million middle and
high school students across the country.


Ji Eun Lee, CEO of Microsoft Korea said
that they have been receiving many inquiries requesting them to share their
experiences about holding the world's first online classes in Korea. "We
will do our best to provide a constant educational environment based on our
global experiences and capabilities," she said.


Re-educating teachers

Behind the successful deployment of
these learning tools came an equally steep learning curve, as educational institutions
stepped up to mobilize and equip educators with the proper skillsets for online


In the Philippines, the
executive committee of the Department of Education (DepEd) moved quickly
to train educators upon the nation's lockdown in March. Department Secretary Leonor
Briones used Microsoft Teams to hold a meeting with 17 regional offices,
addressing critical issues faced by teachers and students. The industry was
kept connected via weekly "Ask the Expert" sessions for officers, as
well as "TeamsTalk", a bi-weekly online meet-up for teachers to catch up
and solicit advice from one another.


Meanwhile, in Malaysia, the Ministry
of Education (MoE)
and Digital Classroom Admin (DCA), with the help
of Microsoft, rose to the challenge by conducting daily webinars to introduce
teachers to Microsoft Teams and Office 365. Training sessions were recorded on
Teams and uploaded on MoE's Digital Learning portal (Ruang Ilmu), enabling over
430,000 teachers across the nation to review training materials at their own time.

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