This paper investigates South Korean educational responses to school closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, viewed with a risk and resilience framework. The COVID-19 crisis emerged and worsened right before the beginning of the new school year (March 2) in South Korea, and immediately led to students’ limited access to educational facilities. Well-established IT infrastructure and national curriculum facilitated the adoption of distance learning in South Korean schools. However, educational inequality due to family influences, and financial instabilities in early care and education settings disrupted students’ optimal learning during the changes. The situation brought both benefits and challenges to South Korean education system. The adoption of distance learning potentially downgraded overall educational quality, but it also provided opportunities to improve educational content and professional development for teachers, and to promote individualized learning for students. Despite some challenges, distance learning was an effective alternative for South Korean schools during the COVID-19 crisis. More practical and research efforts are needed in order to reduce educational inequality and maximize the effectiveness of distance learning.
COVID-19, Distance Learning, School Closure, Educational Responses, Online Schooling, Resilience
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