With COVID-19 spreading across the globe, I’ve watched the impact on Korea and Vietnam with some measure of connection and concern.
As the countries to which I journeyed on my Eisenhower Fellowship in 2014 and studied their education systems in some depth, the manner in which the disease’s spread has shut down their schools has struck me on two levels: worry about the health of the communities and hope for innovation.
It’s with an eye on the opportunity for innovation—improving an educational system that needs an overhaul—that I’ve paid close attention to the response of Everest Education, an after-school tutoring organization I got to know while in Vietnam and whose board I joined after my return to the United States.
Schools and after-school programs were shut down in the beginning of February in Vietnam. With no opportunity to learn in traditional classrooms, students became nonconsumers of education—literally unable to access formal education—overnight.