Coronavirus: France mandates masks for schools and transport

Europe/France/03-05-2020/Author(a) and Source:

France will make face masks compulsory on public transport and in secondary schools when it starts easing its coronavirus lockdown on 11 May, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has said.

Schools will reopen gradually, starting with kindergartens and primary schools.

Pupils aged 11-15 will be expected to wear face masks.

It comes as hard-hit Spain also outlined its lockdown exit plan, aiming for what its prime minister called «a new normality» by the end of June.

How will France reopen?

Non-essential shops and markets will open their doors again from 11 May, but not bars and restaurants.

Stores will have the right to ask shoppers to wear masks, and should ensure they remain a metre (3ft) apart, the prime minister said.

In a relief to many, the French will be able to go outside again without a certificate confirming their intentions, and public gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed. Crèches will also reopen – but with a maximum of 10 children in each group.

France has suffered one of the highest Covid-19 death rates in Europe, along with the UK, Italy and Spain.

On Tuesday the number of people who have died with the virus rose by 367 to 23,660, the country’s health ministry said. Some 129,859 people have been infected.

Hospital admissions and the number of patients in intensive care have been falling, however, giving cause for cautious optimism.

Addressing parliament, Mr Philippe said the lockdown had saved an estimated 62,000 lives in France in a month, but that it was time to ease measures to avoid an economic collapse.

«We will have to learn to live with the virus,» he said, until a vaccine or effective treatment is available.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presents his plan to exit from the lockdown situation at the National Assembly in Paris, France, 28 April 2020.Image copyrightEPA
Image captionFrench Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the country must take care to avoid a second deadly wave of Covid-19

He summed up France’s priorities as «protect, test, isolate».

Parliament backed his proposals after a debate by a large majority. Only 75 of almost 600 French MPs were allowed into the chamber for reasons of social distancing, with others voting by proxy.

Will the lockdown definitely be lifted?

Mr Philippe stressed that France must take strict precautions to avoid a second wave of coronavirus infections.

«The risk of a second wave, which would strike a weakened hospital fabric, which would impose a ‘re-confinement’, which would ruin the efforts and sacrifices made during these eight weeks, is a serious risk,» he said.

The lockdown will not be eased on 11 May if new cases don’t stay below 3,000 a day, he added.

France has seen about 2,162 new cases a day on average over the past two weeks.

The government has set a target to carry out at least 700,000 coronavirus tests per week from 11 May, the prime minister said, and will cover the cost of testing.

«Once a person has tested positive, we will begin to identify and test all those, symptomatic or not, who have had close contact with them. All these contact cases will be tested and will be asked to isolate themselves,» he said.

Mr Philippe said that where possible, people should keep working from home beyond 11 May.

Presentational grey line

French central planning is at its finest in a crisis

Analysis box by Hugh Schofield, Paris correspondent

As the prime minister said, never in history – not in war, occupation or disease – has France had to confront such massive disruption. And now from the best fonctionnaire brains in the land comes an exit strategy that might just measure up to the disaster.

As ever in hyper-rational France, the plan is built round numbers, categories and systems.

The key figure is 3,000. That is what the government reckons will be the number of daily infections in the weeks ahead. By setting up local «brigades» of investigators to track the trail of infection, they reckon they will test 20 contacts per infection – so 420,000 tests a week, which is well within planned capacity.

Those found to have the virus will be expected to self-isolate, either at home with their families or in requisitioned hotels. And as for the rest of the population, life will very gradually resume.

Protection, testing, isolation. That is the system. Which is itself then conditioned by three imperatives: acceptance of the enduring nature of the virus, progressive implementation, and regional adaptation.

It always sounds a mouthful when a French technocrat expounds on a plan. But sometimes it may be exactly what the country needs.

Presentational grey line

Who will have to wear masks?

Addressing the shortage of masks in France, Mr Philippe said they would be widely available by 11 May. He called on all companies to provide staff with masks, and said the government would help small firms if necessary.

Masks will also be sold on the website of the French post office, and five million washable masks will be set aside each week for the most vulnerable.

Construction workers wearing protective masks work on April 28, 2020, at a parking construction site in Chambery, eastern FranceImage copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe government has asked companies to provide French workers with masks

From 11 May everyone using public transport, including trams, trains or the metro, will have to wear a face mask.

It comes after Germany made wearing cloth masks compulsory on public transport, and in shops in some regions.

In schools, France’s kindergarteners will not be expected to wear masks unless they start showing symptoms during the school day. Middle school children (aged 11-15) will be expected to, however, and the government will make masks available for students who can’t access them.

Classes will be no larger than 15 students, the prime minister said.

Elementary schools will begin opening from 11 May. Middle schools in districts with milder outbreaks may be allowed to reopen from 18 May, and high schools at the end of the month.

What will remain closed?

The prime minister noted that some parts of the country had suffered worse outbreaks than others, and said mayors and local authorities would be allowed to adapt the government’s strategy to their locality.

The framework to decide which areas need a stricter form of lockdown easing will be fixed on 7 May, he said.

Some areas will be categorised as «green» and others as «red», depending on their tally of new cases, testing capacity, and the pressure on local hospitals.

Nationwide restrictions that will remain in place include:

  • Funerals will continue to be limited to 20 attendees
  • Religious ceremonies cannot be organised before 2 June
  • Beaches, bars, cinemas and restaurants will remain closed
  • France’s top two football divisions, Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, will not resume this season

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News Didac India – Exploring A World of Unlimited Opportunities

Author: Redation Digital Learning

Resumen: Didac India es hoy uno de los eventos más reconocidos en la región de Asia y el Pacífico para material educativo, capacitación y soluciones basadas en la tecnología para el sector de la educación preescolar, escolar, de educación superior y de habilidades y capacitación.

Didac India is today one of the most renowned events in the Asia Pacific Region for Educational Material, Training & Technology-based solutions for Preschool, School, Higher Education, and Skill & Training segment of education sector.

In a bid to showcase the best global practices of education sector, Didac India, the educational event is being organised for nine years. To address the growing demand for innovative educational products and solutions in the Indian subcontinent, the event is held annually with international exhibition and conference.

The event has British Education Suppliers Association (BESA), DIDACTA (Germany), Worlddidac Association & India Didactics Association among esteemed partners. It is also supported by many ministries of the Government of India and various public and private educational bodies.

The World Education Summit (WES) is one such event organised on the similar lines. Held annually in various parts of the world, it is organised by Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd, the Asia and Middle East’s premier technology and media research company.

The WES is meant to showcase innovations, initiatives and best practices followed across the globe in the education space. So far, 10 editions of WES have been organised across the world in various countries.

Congregating top-notch decision makers, influencers, experts and practitioners from around the world under one roof, the WES facilitates learning about groundbreaking innovations in the education sector and propagate them in different parts of the world, making meaningful improvements in global education.

The summit serves as a premier international platform dedicated to encouraging innovation and creative action in education landscape. In this, top decision-makers share insights with on-the-ground practitioners and collaborate to rethink education.

The latest edition of the World Education Summit is set to be organised on 9-10 August this year in New Delhi’s The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel.

Meanwhile, the 10th edition of the Didac India Exhibition and Conference is scheduled to be organised from 4-6 October 2018 in New Delhi.

The stage is, however, also set for Didac India 2018. With a focus on adding more varied products and solutions and a determination to expand improve, the annual exhibition is set to create new benchmarks in the Indian Education & Training Industry.

WES is the congregation of some of the leading thinkers in the education world from across Asia and beyond. The latest edition of WES will inspire one and all, making them understand the challenges and solutions of the developing education world through a new prism.

The event is a must visit for all those wanting to network with the most promising and fastest growing economies of the world – India and also an ideal platform to reach out to the education industry of Asia.


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Our younger pupils also use ICT

By:Ana María Losada Antón/

There is a wide variety of educational resources that we can explore in the classroom. The most important thing is to have a learning objective according to the cognitive development and maturity of the children, with a constructive use of new technologies.

Despite the growing effort by many teachers to incorporate didactic information technologies into the preschool classroom, their use has been limited to educational computer games and the projection of videos on smart boards.

However, there are other educational resources that we can also explore in the classroom, which do not require an exorbitant budget. For this, a clear learning objective according to the children’s cognitive development and maturity is absolutely necessary. Also, as teachers, we must be aware that we are educating our little digital natives in the appropriate and constructive use of new technologies.

Nowadays, there are multiple educational platforms and teacher blogs, such as Mi aula de infantil and La clase de Miren, as well as social network groups where we can find the good practices of teachers who are experienced in the use of educational technologies, such as tablets, mobile devices, smart boards and robots, and which serve as a model and an inspiration for our own performance. Moreover, these resources confirm that any content can be addressed using a technological tool with an educational objective.

“There are other educational resources that we can also explore in the classroom, which do not require an exorbitant budget.”

In my classroom I try to use a variety of technological tools as an additional resource, never as the only one, to accomplish the learning objectives in different areas. Augmented reality applications such as Quiver or Chromville, for example, help us to work on diverse subject-related aspects and interaction with the environment. Students are amazed to see how their own creations (a human body, a winter landscape or a world map they have just colored) come to life on paper. Apart from being motivating, they facilitate learning by offering a more real approach and providing students with a 3-D view of a globe or the human body.

QR codes are also very useful at this stage to disseminate all types of information related to daily life in the classroom. Some application examples are: indications on our ongoing project, new clues, secrets about our classroom pet, among others. A simple initiative is to include a code on a piece of cardboard for children to take home and, using a phone or tablet, they can reveal to their family the hidden recording of a poem recitation, a dance, a song or a photo album, thus disseminating their own creations and classwork. QR codes can also be allies for working on diverse curricular content. We can use them as word decoders in a reading and writing game, inserting next to the word or phrase a code that will show children an image of what they have read, so they can check for themselves whether or not they got it right.

Preschoolers can also have fun with basic programming and robotics tools in the classroom. As a starting point, using only their own body instead of technological resources, we can introduce students to the concept of programming through a motor skills game that allows them to discover how an action or an order generates a specific movement. In this way, we transform the children into little robots that move over a grid drawn on the floor, by following the instructions their classmates give them through cards with directional arrows. Then we can move on to more complex board games such as Robot Turtles (ages 4 and up) and finally use small robots such as Bee-Boot or Robot Mouse that can easily be found in stores and online.

“I try to use a variety of technological tools as an additional resource, never as the only one, to accomplish the learning objectives in different areas. ”

These tools encourage problem solving, spatial organization and logical thinking, while we work on content such as vocabulary, numbers, counting, or reading cartoons and images.

The experience of integrating this type of tools into the preschool classroom has allowed me to observe, on the one hand, their enormous didactic potential and, on the other, that children feel incredibly comfortable and confident in this area, but with the supervision of the teacher.

Mobile devices form part of our little pupils’ daily lives and are, in many cases, readily available to them. Even though they appear to have mastered them technically, good technical management is not indicative of proper, constructive and responsible use. Our duty is precisely to teach and impress upon them their proper use from an early age, bearing in mind that these devices will be around throughout their lives. Consequently, incorporating technological tools with appropriate teaching methodologies is essential, making them a natural part of daily life at school.

To develop students’ digital literacy, we first need to be aware of our own shortcomings and become, fearlessly and confidently, the first learners.

I would like to invite all teachers to reflect together on how we are using ICT. To do so, we need to be trained and have the capacity to step outside our comfort zone, in order to discover the magic that is generated in the educational experience once the panic zone has been overcome.

About the author

Ana María Losada Antón ( holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and a diploma in preschool education. She teaches at Colegio Público de Toledo, Castilla – La Mancha (Spain) and is also a member of the collaborative group Bricolaje Digital, created to integrate digital tools in schools and reflect on new educational trends.


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Australian Education Union SA branch calls for two years of preschool

Australia / 24 de enero de 2018 / Por: Tim Williams / Fuente:

PROVIDING two years of preschool, initially for the most vulnerable children and eventually for all, must be on the next state government’s agenda, the teachers’ union says.

The Australian Education Union’s SA branch has released a position paper that is both an election wishlist and a longer term blueprint for public education.

It says the first priority for young children must be to boost the proportion who attend 15 hours of preschool a week in the year before starting school. While all SA 4-year-olds are enrolled, only 75 per cent attend the funded hours.

The union says whoever forms government after the March election must also develop a longer-term strategy to provide “two years of high quality preschool education for all children”, previously estimated to cost $60 million.

“Quality early education sets the foundations for cognitive, physical, emotional, social and language development …” the paper states.

“Such a strategy should make the provision of two years of quality preschool a priority for all children for whom 15 hours (a week) for a year is not enough to meet their development needs — significant numbers of children from low SES backgrounds, Aboriginal children, children with health problems, children with disabilities, children from non-English speaking backgrounds and children in rural and remote communities.”

The paper also calls for:

A GUARANTEE embattled TAFE SA will receive at least 70 per cent of vocational training funds, leaving no more than 30 per cent as “contestable” between the public and private sectors.

FUNDING all public schools to 100 per cent of the national benchmark known as the Schooling Resource Standard.

GENDER equity strategies, including research and possible employment quotas, to put more women into school and TAFE SA leadership positions.

The State Government currently funds 12 hours a week of preschool for 4-year-olds and the Federal Government the other three hours.

Last month Premier Jay Weatherill revived the idea of two years of preschool and suggested the Commonwealth fund a trial.

But federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said Mr Weatherill had “no proposal and no funding to roll out this idea” and was trying to distract from the crisis engulfing TAFE SA.

SA Aboriginal children and those in state care are already entitled to attend preschool from age three. Tasmania plans to offer 10 hours of preschool a week to disadvantaged 3-year-olds from 2020.

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Malasya: 100 per cent access to early childhood education by 2020’

Malasya/January 3, 2018/By: Saiful Bahari,

Access to early childhood education in Sarawak is set to reach 100 per cent by 2020.

Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said currently, 97.5 per cent of children in Year 1 underwent preschool education prior to entering primary school.

“Our vision to provide access to early childhood education to all is showing signs of success, and awareness among parents is significantly showing improvement,” she said during a visit to the Community Development Department (Kemas) Taska Permata at Kampung Sri Tajo, Asajaya yesterday.

Fatimah said the government’s aim to provide 100 per cent access to early childhood education by 2020 can be achieved and is nearing its target.

On a related matter, the minister stressed that the quality of early childhood education is another important factor that needs to be looked into, as it will provide the necessary impact.

“Access needs to be complemented with the right quality, and these traits are the pillars toward producing a quality child who is ready to enter primary school.

“The government continuously looks into how we can develop preschool teachers and their teaching materials and methods to ensure that we can churn out the best to shape the child,” she said.

The government, added Fatimah, will continue to empower preschool training centres for teachers, and its learning module will be improved constantly to ensure it gives the best results. During her visit, she presented the Quality Preschool Benchmark Award 2017 for government preschool to staff of Taska Permata Kampung Sri Tajo.

Kota Samarahan MP Rubiah Wang and Kemas state director Mohd Zamri Mustajab were among those present.


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Australia: Day care ‘double whammy’: NSW lagging in key education area

Australia/ September 12, 2017/By: Pallavi Singhal/ Source:

Gayle King spends the same on preschool for her three-year-old son Harry as she does on her mortgage, but she said she sees it as an important investment in his education.

«One salary goes to paying for childcare, it costs us $130 a day,» said Mrs King, 36, who works as an accountant.

However, she and her husband have been paying for preschool since Harry was one, and Mrs King said she has seen major improvements in his language, maths and social skills in the past two years.

Mrs King said she has noticed a big difference between Harry’s development and that of friends’ children who don’t attend preschool.

Gayle King said she has seen major improvements in her son Harry’s language, maths and social skills since she enrolled him in preschool. Photo: Janie Barrett

«Their vocabularies are a lot lower than [Harry’s] and their social skills are just behind,» Mrs King said.

However, far more children in NSW are missing out on early education in the year before school than any other state or territory, a new report released by peak advocacy group Early Childhood Australia has found.

 About 77 per cent of children in NSW were enrolled in more than 600 hours of preschool in the year before school in 2015, compared to 97 per cent of children in Victoria and more than 95 per cent in the remaining states and territories.

NSW is the only state that has not yet met the national target of having 95 per cent of children enrolled in preschool for a year before they begin school, according to the 2017 State of Early Learning in Australia report.

The lag persists despite evidence showing that students who attend a quality preschool program are up to 40 per cent ahead of their peers in standardised tests by year 3 and half as likely to be behind in any of five key development areas, the report states.

The report also finds that Australia is lagging behind other OECD countries in this measure, and is ranked among the bottom third of nations for rates of early childhood education at the age of three and just below the OECD average for enrolment among four-year-olds.

«We’re not doing well overall in educational performance, [Programme of International Student Assessment] results are not favourable to Australia,» chief executive of Early Childhood Australia Samantha Page said, referring to the country’s declining results in the international science, reading and maths tests for 15-year-olds.

«I don’t think we’ve been quick enough to realise the significance of early learning for long-term educational outcomes and we’ve fallen behind. What we need to do is work on affordability and participation,» she said.

The report finds that a family earning $35,000 a year spent nearly 46 per cent of their disposable income on full-time childcare before subsidies were taken into account. This fell to about 12 per cent for a low-income family after accounting for subsidies, compared to 7.4 per cent for a high-income family.

Ms Page said that the NSW government’s $217 million investment into community preschools that provide 600 hours of education in the year before school, which extends the Start Strong program to 2021, will likely improve the state’s participation rates in the coming years.

Chief executive of early education provider Gowrie NSW Lynne Harwood said the children who are currently missing out on preschool are often those who are already disadvantaged.

«They are already starting behind the eight ball and not having access to early education puts them even further behind, so it’s like a double whammy,» Mrs Harwood said.

Emma Teres, who has enrolled her five-year-old son Anthony in part-time day care since he was six months old and her three-year-old twins Thomas and Christopher since they were one, said she would «ideally» enrol them full-time if it was more affordable.

«Anthony and Thomas have both been diagnosed with autism and they’ve gained in confidence education-wide, they are able to work in group settings and they’re learning different things to what a parent could ever show them at home, it just prepares them for school,» said Mrs Teres, 37, who used to work in the anti-money laundering department at a major bank.

«The main reason I haven’t enrolled them full-time and returned to work is that my salary wouldn’t be enough to justify paying for them to be in day care,» Mrs Teres said.

«But I believe every child should be in childcare even if it’s just for a few days, and the earlier you can get them in the better.»

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