Keen to meet the challenge of no more than 1.6 billion children going to school due to the coronavirus, Governments from around the world have been keen to find new ways to help the education sector to provide new educational tools for studying at home. These numbers are unprecedented and the impact on schools and students is significant; this is the first time in history that the majority of students stay home and live this chaos in their studies and daily routines. Most countries in the world have announced the temporary closure of schools, This affected 90% of students around the world, according to UNICEF.
While many governments plan to gradually reopen schools over the coming weeks or months, No one knows how this global lockdown has affected children and how much they understand what is happening around us today and what causes it. In light of all these data, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Education Minister Lee Andersson and Culture and Science Minister Hana Kosonen have decided to devise a new way to reach and connect with students through a virtual meeting with school students to answer their questions and clarify what is happening in the world today.
On 24 April 2020, Students received a unique homework where they were asked to log into an online press conference via a video link to listen to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Culture and Science. This initiative was the first of its kind in Finland, Finland's more than half a million students have been given the opportunity to act as a journalist, ask questions and express their concerns. The Ministers answered all questions in Finland's two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Add to sign language.
The questions touched on topics such as "When will I go back to school?", "Can we go to the amusement park this summer?", "When can I visit my grandparents and other elderly relatives?" and "What can we do if we feel stressed or scared because of the current situation?". In response to a student's question, "What can I do for Finland?" , the Prime Minister stressed the importance of continuing to learn and making sure to communicate with relatives and grandparents via phone and video calls.
This initiative has proven successful in promoting awareness and communication with the often overlooked segments of society, namely children. It focuses on the importance of reaching out to children and helping them understand and adapt to the new post-COVID-19 reality. They can contribute to this global crisis by continuing to learn and interact with their family and friends.