1.6.1 Brazil: Fundação Getulio Vargas
In Brazil, the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) has focused its support for the continuation of education by providing policymakers with access to reliable information to navigate the crisis, and by making high-quality, online educational resources available to secondary students and education professionals. A distinctive collaboration has been FVG’s High School program, whose main objective is carrying out analysis that contributes to the improvement of the quality and provision of upper secondary. Established in 2003, this initiative has worked with state and local governments by providing technical assistance, and it has developed online resources to support teachers and students. Most notably, FVG created a web site that allows students to practice for the National High School Examination (ENEM), which is used by prestigious higher education institutions as an admission test for enrollment. The government decision to transition to an online version of ENEM due to the pandemic triggered a massive increase in the use of FGV’s High School practice-test platform. In addition, it opened the door for the establishment of further partnerships with state education offices and schools, with the goal of establishing trustworthy online platforms that can assist teachers in the application of exams and mock tests remotely. FGV’s online tool is suited to address capacity gaps at the local level to evaluate and assess students. Other initiatives conducted by FGV in support of school education include the offering of free online courses and a significant effort disseminating best practices and establishing policy dialogue with local governments. The pandemic has enabled an increased level of collaboration among different areas of FGV that focus on elementary and secondary education.
1.6.2 Chile: Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC)
In response to a request from the Chilean government to support efforts in coping with the pandemic, an advisory committee was established under the leadership of the Presidents of the Catholic University of Chile (PUC) and the University of Chile (UCh). One of the tasks of this ad hoc committee has been to work on proposals and specific guidelines to help the school system with the necessary measures to provide socioemotional and academic support to elementary and secondary students and their parents. Since PUC and UCh are the oldest, most prestigious, and most selective higher education institutions in Chile, collaboration among them, in general, is relatively limited. However, the pandemic provided a unique opportunity to establish a successful partnership with the hopes that future collaboration may emerge in the post-pandemic world. One of the results of the partnership is the development of specific and adaptive guidelines to implement a prioritized curriculum in schools that will be implemented for the 2020 and 2021 academic years. Also, in conjunction with other universities, two documents with guidelines for adequate management of schools during the pandemic, and policies for curriculum adjustments, were drafted and disseminated. Finally, at PUC, the system of practical training for students at the Faculty of Education was rapidly adapted into a virtual education environment allowing the design of new materials, coaching of students in schools, etc.
1.6.3 Chile: University of Chile (UCh)
During the pandemic, the University of Chile (UCh) redesigned and maintained an ongoing public-private alliance between the Arauco Educational Foundation, the Center for Advanced Research in Education (CIAE-Universidad de Chile), and Andalien Sur Local Public Education Service (SLEP) with the goal of preventing school exclusion (repetition and dropout) in public schools. The program has been supporting education in a group of 12 schools through pilots, with the ultimate goal of further implementing successful practices in a larger number of public schools in the country. Although UCh has participated in several initiatives in support of continuation of education in elementary and secondary schools, the program “Desafío TEP” was of particular interest, considering the risk that the pandemic would increase drop-out rates in public schools. Within the first 2 weeks after schools were closed, the team organized online meetings, resulting in adapting the program, adjusting the work cycle, establishing more efficient communication mechanisms with school representatives, and further refining the gathering of information on school engagement. Key lessons learned by UCh from the adaptation of the program include the need for ensuring that students feel satisfied and motivated to keep learning, strengthening the communication with families, supporting teachers to make them feel competent and safe, using all technological resources available, and making visible the achievements of students and schools.
1.6.4 China: Tsinghua University (TU)
Tsinghua University is a public university in Beijing, China, with more than 50,000 students, a number of hosts within its main campus, and a network of schools, including Tsinghua University High School (TUHS), International School, Primary School, and Kindergarten, covering all pre-K to Grade 12 for both national curriculum and AP courses. The fact that TUHS implemented a blended learning approach in 2016 supported the transition to online learning due to the pandemic, and it helped to accelerate the restructuring of the curriculum. Another initiative, the Innovative Talent Cultivation Open Forum (ITCOF) hosted by K-16 Technology and Engineering Education Alliance (K-16 Alliance)—a collaborative partnership of TU and the Ministry of Education with the goal of building a stronger tie between K-12 and higher education—involved the participation of educators, researchers, and practitioners from universities, schools, and governments to share insights into education for innovative talents. ITCOF hosted 18 online public talks in 6 weeks, with speakers from TU, Beijing Normal University, high schools, and ed-tech companies. The talks covered a variety of topics, including education research, policy review, education outlook, learning and teaching strategies, and best practice review. Also, the Student Development Center of TUHS hosted the Minds of Youth (MoY), a learning camp designed during the pandemic with the goal of creating online collaborative learning communities for students from different parts of China, from 6th graders up to undergraduate students. MoY is a 5-day online learning camp aimed at providing opportunities for participating students to learn how to stay positive while learning at home, away from friends and teachers. As indicated in preliminary responses, participants expressed having acquired new perspectives.
1.6.5 Colombia: EAFIT University
EAFIT, a private university based in Medellin, Colombia, illustrates how long-standing capacity-building support, provided by the institution to local governments and schools as part of an ongoing collaboration with the National Ministry of Education (MoE), and with the city government of the national capital, was quickly expanded and adapted in the Covid-19 pandemic. This collaborative work between a university and government is derived from the 2012 EAFIT’s development of the UbiTAG model, a holistic approach to digital maturity and change management in schools that has been implemented through ongoing long-term projects in more than 400 schools. Based on this experience, right before the pandemic, EAFIT supported the MoE on the development of Aprender Digital, a strategy that became highly useful in response to the Covid-19 emergency. The collaboration of EAFIT with the government is focusing on collectively defining the actions needed for the successful continuation of academic activities in schools, which is in its early stages of implementation. The role of EAFIT has consisted of providing orientation in the creative adaptation of traditional learning methodologies, and transferring the lessons and strategies provided by the UbiTAG model, in order to enhance the continuity of the educational processes of students from their homes. The involvement of EAFIT in support of the government has fostered increased communication and collaboration among different units and schools at EAFIT, although still the connection of the project with the teaching-learning side of the university remains to be enhanced.
1.6.6 India: Symbiosis International University
In the case of India, Symbiosis International University (SIU) illustrates the involvement of a higher education institution with elementary and secondary schools to ensure continuity of teaching and learning during the pandemic for which experience using remote means to interact with teachers and parents became very useful. Symbiosis Society is a trust that encompasses Symbiosis Schools and Symbiosis International (Deemed University). Symbiosis Schools includes elementary and secondary schools with which SIU has worked during the pandemic. In addition, 23 public rural schools established in Lavale village, the neighborhood surrounding the main campus of SIU, have been “adopted” by SIU even before the pandemic. This occurred through offering training programs for schoolteachers, making technological platforms for the remote delivery of teaching available to schools, and installing solar panels to make possible the use of electronic equipment in cases where no regular electricity is available. During the pandemic, most efforts were devoted to training teachers on how to integrate the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) approach into their curriculum. Efforts have been easier to implement in urban schools, with serious difficulties remaining in rural schools. A key element of SIU’s related work is to systematically monitor these efforts through hosting regular meetings with the heads of the schools, attending online sessions to review the quality of implementation, receiving feedback from students and sharing it with teachers, and processing feedback from parents.
1.6.7 Japan: Keio University
Based on research and practice, Keio University developed expertise in implementing distance learning. This know-how was mobilized to support Japanese K-12 education’s efforts with distance learning for education continuity. In addition, a pre-existing partnership between the Ministry of Education and university had the power of changing old regulations and defining the technical specification to carry out a new ICT system to support distance learning. Building on a pre-existing partnership with the Ministry of Education, Keio University developed a model that enables K-12 schools to implement distance education in ways which are socially acceptable and economically feasible.
1.6.8 Mexico: Autonomous University of Puebla (BUAP)
The Autonomous University of Puebla (BUAP) is a comprehensive public university in Mexico at which almost 20% of the 96,409 students are enrolled in 24 high schools located in different cities in the state of Puebla. Prior to the pandemic, BUAP defined an academic model in which entrepreneurship is one of the skills to be prioritized among its students, resulting in the offering of “EmprendeBUAP,” a six-semester face-to-face program which, since its inception, has benefited 16,400 students. As the pandemic forced the closure of facilities, BUAP’s team rapidly transitioned the training program into an online format to guarantee educational continuity. In its new format, “EmprendeBUAP” has reached 18,000 beneficiaries including not only students but also faculty members and parents, and it is planned to reach an additional 10,000 students by the end of the year. The redesigned online program was developed after extensive consultation with faculty members and school principals, and with participation of instructional design specialists and entrepreneurial consultants. In addition, in observing the challenges faced by students, parents, and faculty members, the team decided to develop another initiative named “Sal de la Curva” (Spanish for “Get out of the curve”). This initiative consists of a series of mentoring sessions with the goal of supporting students in the development of self-knowledge, resilience, and family well-being. To increase its impact, a partnership with universities in Central and South America was established, and it is offered to BUAP’s students as well as to a group of 120 elementary and middle schools in the state of Puebla.
1.6.9 Mexico: Tecnológico de Monterrey University
The case of the Tecnológico de Monterrey University in Mexico illustrates the advantages of having in place an academic model based on the concepts of flexibility and digital pedagogies, which allowed the multi-campus institution to quickly support academic continuity during the pandemic. Specifically, the case describes the experience of two Tecnológico de Monterrey middle schools as they implemented the Flexible-Digital Model (FDM). Since FDM was originally designed to support teaching-learning during the pandemic at the higher education level, some concerns about its applicability in lower secondary education were present among teachers and institutional administrators. Evaluations conducted during the implementation processes helped to identify challenges by teachers (need for training, access to platforms, security, modified assessment, etc.), students (Internet access failures, emotional attention, distraction at home, etc.), and parents (lack of experience with and training on the use of platforms, frustration and anxiety, flexibility, etc.) Preliminary evaluations indicate that a majority of students have been either satisfied or very satisfied with the modified learning experience.
1.6.10 Mexico: University of Guadalajara (UdeG)
The University of Guadalajara (UdeG) is the second largest public university in Mexico, which includes 71 upper-secondary schools, accounting for 50% of the total enrollment at this level in the state of Jalisco. Before the pandemic, academic collaboration between upper-secondary and higher education institutions within UdeG was not systematically monitored and supported, mostly due to the internal governance of the university. However, the pandemic opened opportunities to address the problem and led to a series of actions, including the massive training of around 6000 full-time faculty, 1400 of whom are upper-secondary teachers, on the use of technology and active-learning approaches by faculty members from the higher education side of the university (professors). In addition, related teacher’s training programs, aimed at discussing and rethinking the academic model of the university, were designed for the first time without separating the upper-secondary and higher education levels, engaging all in discussions and joint solutions by faculty members from both levels to address the challenges of the pandemic. This collaborative approach resulted in a series of recommendations for the university leadership, including the need to build common teaching capacities for the entire academic community (an approach defended mainly by the professors of upper-secondary schools but supported by the higher education faculty members) and the need to make the transition between upper-secondary and higher education levels more effective and easier for students.
1.6.11 Morocco: Al Akhawayn University
Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI), Morocco, located in a low-income, mountainous, and rural area, implemented several student and faculty-led projects aimed at alleviating poverty and exclusion, especially in K-12 education. Many of these projects have benefited primary schools in the area, and some have even had a national impact, some of which occurred in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. For instance, the CITI (Center for Information Technology Innovation) project developed a platform that houses middle school science teaching materials, which is available nationwide to students and teachers and continues to update the materials with mediated contributions from teachers. This platform with the digital materials proved to be a strong resource for online education during the pandemic.
1.6.12 New Zealand: Massey University
At Massey University in New Zealand, as part of a pre-existing research program on mathematics education, faculty members have been providing support during the pandemic to school leaders and teachers to engage them in a range of new and different ways to teach mathematics to traditionally underserved Māori and Pāsifika students in Aotearoa. The pandemic provided a unique opportunity to mitigate traditional inequity in education for indigenous and Pacific Islanders by involving not only students but also members of their families. While supporting teaching, Massey University researchers examined and explored opportunities to develop a richer understanding of students’ funds of knowledge. While recognizing the clear digital divide in access to devices and connectivity, educators participating in the project ensured that families were provided with culturally sustaining mathematics activities at home. The teaching of mathematics using online modalities allowed researchers to observe how engaged family members were in the learning of students, and how beneficial this involvement was for the improvement of the educational experience of the students. The whole process enabled teachers to gain a better appreciation of family members’ involvement in the learning of students. As the lockdown has ended, and schools are in the process of reopening, educators are attempting to find ways to continue the positive relationships they had across their students’ communities, which, ultimately, will result in a more equitable mathematics education for underserved populations.
1.6.13 Portugal: University of Lisbon
The Institute of Education of the University of Lisbon (IE-ULisbon) adapted its research and outreach efforts with schools during the pandemic. With a long history of participation in partnerships with elementary and secondary schools, IE-ULisbon continued working with schools during the pandemic with positive results, as indicated in interviews conducted with school principals, teachers, and partnership coordinators. IE-ULisbon implemented a pre-pandemic training on digital competencies provided to teachers from a school cluster in the Lisbon district, which resulted in a Digital Action Plan that was recently developed with teachers. Due to the lockdown, work on this topic transitioned from face-to-face to remote. Thanks to the continuous guidance and involvement of IE-ULisbon, the process was concluded successfully, resulting in an easy adaptation of the use of digital technologies by teachers, students, and parents. Another related experience at IE-ULisbon was the “Let’s GoSTEM” project involving 60 teachers and 800 elementary and secondary students with the aim of assessing the impact of a STEM approach on learning, motivation, and interest in further STEM careers. The training phase of the project was scheduled to be held in a face-to-face format as well as the related interaction with students. Both activities were quickly adapted to a remote format. Preliminary findings signal a successful transition and implementation.
1.6.14 Qatar: Qatar Foundation (QF)
Due to its unique role as the primary driver for innovation and educational development at national level, the Qatar Foundation (QF) became involved in supporting education continuity in all levels of the educational system. Universities established at QF’s Education City rapidly set up activities aimed at transitioning their existing outreach programs into a virtual delivery mode. At the same time, QF entities supporting the government on the professional development of schoolteachers, developed and conducted massive training programs on the use of technological platforms. The main support efforts from QF consisted of online delivery of teaching, development of online resources, professional development of teachers and principals, research efforts in connection with the continuation of education, and supporting policy at the national level. In addition, a significant number of activities aimed at supporting delivery of education among the K-12 schools established at Qatar Foundation were made available to outside schools and the public writ large. The whole experience led QF to develop a framework for analysis of actions, which is being used to evaluate effectiveness of interventions, lessons learned, and ways to sustain efforts in the post-pandemic new “normal.”
1.6.15 Russia: HSE-National Research University Higher School of Economics
The case of the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Russia underscores the importance that previously established relationships with secondary schools played in supporting the continuation of activities during the pandemic. The different units at HSE have in the past worked at promoting the development of the Russian education system, providing methodological support for education and working with high school students and schools across the country on the use of digital technologies, among other activities. The latest work involved conducting research and analysis and disseminating knowledge, promoting best practices, enabling discussions on experiences and training practices in the pandemic, training schoolteachers and principals, providing online instruction and assistance to students, and helping parents to support education at home. Such work was made possible by the ongoing cooperation of HSE with schools in Moscow and other Russian regions through initiatives, such as the “HSE School District” project, the HSE Distributed Lyceum School, a distance-teaching web site created ex-professo during the pandemic, YouTube, and other social media-based educational resources. Additionally, HSE conducted a variety of monitoring and research activities aimed at learning from teachers, students, and authorities on their perspectives about the transition to remote education. The leading role of HSE supporting pre-university education during the pandemic prompted the Russian Ministry of Education to request HSE to prepare a report on the status and context of the education system during the pandemic. Also, an interesting development described in the case is the involvement of HSE students who were recruited to support teaching and provide tutoring to secondary school students.
1.6.16 Spain: Universidad José Camilo Cela
The Camilo José Cela University (UCJC), a private university located in Madrid, is part of the larger organization, SEK Education Group, which administers elementary and secondary schools in several countries. While the collaborative involvement of UCJC with those schools has been in place for a while, due to the pandemic, several related activities were either adapted or developed to guarantee the continuation of education. One of those activities was the involvement of a group of UCJC university education students as Teacher Assistants supporting the online teaching of primary and secondary teachers. This effort helped high school students directly, but also served as an opportunity for further training and awareness of participating university students. A related activity was the offering of personalized online teacher training programs for schoolteachers, with active involvement of the Teacher Assistants. Additionally, UCJC has been able to continue supporting vulnerable refugees residing in Spain during the pandemic through a network of volunteers, providing counseling, online tutoring, and online socioemotional or mental health support to students and teachers. UCJC has also partnered with local NGOs to support parents and students from vulnerable sectors, and it is remotely supporting the provision of education to refugees in Kenya, especially through female teachers. The whole experience of UCJC’s involvement during the pandemic has helped foster innovation and entrepreneurship among students and faculty members, and it has also strengthened the social commitment of the academic community.
1.6.17 Turkey: Bahçeşehir University (BAU)
Bahçeşehir University (BAU), a private higher education institution with six campuses in Istanbul, is part of BAU Global Education Network, which includes two chains of K-12 schools with 180,000 students and 21,000 teachers in about 280 campuses around Turkey. The Faculty of Education at BAU has worked with these schools before the pandemic, through the program “University within School.” This earlier engagement made it easier to collaborate with schools during the lockdown providing training to mitigate the anxiety of parents, students, and teachers. Because of the magnitude of the task, the instructors teamed up with master’s and PhD students and supervised the counselling of students voluntarily provided in individual and group sessions. Also, a massive dissemination effort was held using social media to share good practices and recommendations. In addition, as a result of a survey conducted in schools, BAU’s Faculty of Education set up a wide array of virtual dissemination sessions for parents, teachers, and students focusing on psychological resilience and coping with anxiety. Other activities included leadership skills training for school principals, showcasing technological applications and methodologies to enrich online learning, and an online training on computer technologies for teaching, offered to teachers working in state schools with the collaboration of the Ministry of Education. The overall volunteer work of faculty members from BAU supporting elementary and secondary schools has helped to strengthen the collaboration between the university and schools, and also helped to refine collaboration between different departments of the university.
1.6.18 USA: Arizona State University
The case shared by Arizona State University (ASU) describes how different units at ASU mounted rapid responses to the pandemic that provided elementary- and secondary-level students resources and learning opportunities to which they would otherwise not have had access. Those units include ASU Preparatory Academy (a tuition-free school serving students in grades K-12 chartered by ASU), ASU Prep Digital (a flexible online school offering a path toward college admission), the Gary K. Herberger Young Scholars Academy (a learning environment for intellectually gifted students), and ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Actions focused on assuring a direct provision of education to K-12 learners; supporting schools with human and intellectual capital resources; and curating and making available free educational resources to learners, families, and schools. As ASU has a long-standing experience of partnerships with elementary and secondary schools, many of the existing long-term commitments helped the university develop capabilities that could be quickly applied to help elementary and secondary learners during the pandemic. A key enabler of collaboration with K-12 schools is that ASU has in place a formal institutional vision to universal learning that demands a university be ready and able to deliver instruction in many modalities to all learners.
1.6.19 USA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The case study of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) describes the efforts and impact of an initiative aimed at supporting remote collaborative learning for K-12 students, parents, and educators. Known as Full STEAM Ahead (FSA), the program was implemented in response to the pandemic and included the offering of weekly themed packages with developmentally appropriate activities for students, and the development of a summer program for middle school students. Both initiatives were established targeting at-risk students with the assumption that MIT can contribute to improving K-12 remote collaborative learning experiences through developing and sharing meaningful curriculum, and by leveraging existing structures and projects within MIT in support of partnerships with the community. FSA’s activities have demonstrated that such a collaborative approach has helped to fulfill existing goals and that interaction and community-building are fundamental. It is expected that the resources already developed and the expertise gained in implementing the project will support more effective future outreach efforts of MIT.
1.6.20 Vietnam: University of Education (UEd)
The Department of Educational Sciences at the University of Education (UEd) in Vietnam has a history of ongoing support to K-12 education with a variety of collaborative teaching and research activities; it also has the role of training teachers, educational specialists, and managers of educational institutions. During the pandemic, due to such involvement with the sector, the UEd immediately started collaborating with the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) and UNICEF to provide digitally based mental and socioemotional support for K-12 teachers and students, through webinars, social network channels, and TV shows, and by disseminating printed materials. Faculty members from UEd participated in this effort on a voluntary basis. The entire set of initiatives has been well-received by beneficiaries leading to the further development of other training and counseling materials aimed at supporting students through Covid-19. Further monitoring of the different interventions shows that demand for counseling among students during times of crisis is significant, that parents should be involved, and that teachers’ demand for psychological and mental health support is as high as the support requested from students. The success of the support in response to the emergency has reinforced the need to develop plans, drafted from experiences and lessons learned, for a sustained effort beyond the pandemic.