Covid-19 and its impact on education

COVID-19 has drastically altered the way we live our lives. In education, this is most strongly felt in the closure of schools in order to contain the outbreak. Educational institutions across the globe had to put traditional methods of learning on hold. According to UNESCO, hundreds of millions of learners have been affected by nationwide closures.

While schools are closed, education has moved online. For some, the transition to online learning has been easy. However, there are many others who are less fortunate. They could be isolated due to their lack of access to digital technology. These students also face a widening learning gap as their more fortunate peers are able to continue pursuing an education while they lag behind.

What has Singapore done?

But the situation is not hopeless. In Singapore, efforts have been made to help less fortunate students pull through this difficult period. By April 2020, about 12,500 laptops or tablets have been loaned out to students who may not have enough electronic devices to support their home-based learning, according to the Ministry of Education. Aside from this, the ministry added that 1,200 internet-enabling devices have been loaned out to students as well. This is just one way Singapore has strived to keep education accessible to all during a crisis.

During Singapore’s “circuit breaker” period, schools have also stayed open for some students who need additional support for reasons such as requiring access to technology or regular face-to-face interaction, or whose parents are essential workers and cannot place them in alternative care arrangements.

It is heartening to see how COVID-19 has not taken away the community spirit in our society. With the commendable efforts of everyday Singaporeans, we have helped to ensure that education is not sidelined during these hard times.


And yet there is a lot more we can do to help. Aside from electronics, we can also donate our used textbooks for needy students. FairPrice’s “Share-A-Textbook” community project has been around for 38 years. Held annually, this project aims to distribute used textbooks to needy students for free. This year perhaps, it holds a special significance.

Although COVID-19 may have forced us to refrain from sharing many things, it has not forced us to cut down on the sharing of knowledge. Over the past few decades, more than 5.3 million used textbooks have been collected. FairPrice’s efforts have recently been praised by the government, when Mr Maliki Osman, the second Minister for Education, gave a speech about FairPrice’s altruistic efforts to give back to the community.

The deadline for this year’s textbook donations is 30th November 2020. If you are keen on volunteering for the “Share-A-Textbook” project, do check out FairPrice’s guidelines here.

While COVID-19 regulations will still be with us for some time, there is nothing stopping us from doing our part to ensure that everyone has access to education. No child should be placed at a disadvantage because of their financial situation. Let’s all do our part today!