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What does the rise of online learning during COVID-19 mean for Southeast Asia?

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By Umair Jamal


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to mass school and university closures worldwide. Southeast Asian states are no different: the impact on the region's education sector has been overwhelming.  


Like the rest of the world, the educational institutions in Southeast Asia are embracing virtual and distance learning.


However, the sudden shift to online schooling has raised concerns about whether Southeast Asia's education systems are equipped for such a quick scale-up of digital learning.


There is a digital divide in Southeast Asia that runs across gender, income and geographic and social lines, with many lacking access to internet, computers or key technical skills.


If the existing digital divide is left unaddressed, there are fears that the internet will worsen the marginalization of already disadvantaged groups and widen educational gaps in the region.


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