This file photo shows a high school teacher giving an online lecture in Seoul on April 9, 2020, amid the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Kyodo)

SEOUL (Kyodo) – A survey of South Korean students has shown declining academic capacity due to the suspension of face-to-face classes due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Education Ministry said. country.

The ministry conducted the annual survey in November last year among 3 percent of third-year middle school students and second-year high school students, releasing the results last week.

The rate of students judged to be “below the basic academic level” has increased compared to the previous year. The ministry said the rate had increased as students attended only about half the number of school days last year compared to a normal year.

In an effort to block the spread of coronavirus infections, the ministry switched classes in schools to e-learning for a period of time and also limited the number of students attending schools.

According to the result of the survey conducted by testing Korean, mathematics and English, the percentage of the lowest level of the four classifications, which indicates not reaching the basic academic standard, has increased to 8.6 percent in English versus 3.6 percent the previous year among second-year high school students.

The percentages of the lowest level in other subjects, regardless of grades, have also increased.

Ministry officials said they take the results seriously and aim to implement measures to recover academic performance.

The survey results showed an overall downward trend for the first time since the current survey method was applied in 2017.

According to another survey conducted in parallel, students’ enthusiasm for learning and the level of happiness in school life also decreased compared to the previous year.

In response to the result, Vice Premier and Minister of Education Yoo Eun Hae said that online learning has a limit in replacing school classes.

Yoo said she would discuss coronavirus prevention measures with health officials to allow all students to attend schools from the second semester which begins in August or September.

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