During the pandemic, the authorities had to deal with a very sensitive problem – how to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus without stopping the spread of knowledge among the new generation. The school in times of a pandemic is the subject of the eighth episode of the podcast “That’s the way it is!”. Moderators Victoria Coroban and Andrei Lutenco didn’t manage to talk to representatives of the Ministry of Education, but discussed with Natalia Revenco, Romanian language and literature teacher at the Chisinau Lyceum “Mihai Viteazu”, and Elena Vatamanu Mărgineanu, twelfth grader of a Chisinau lyceum, who agreed to share their experience. They also discussed the performance of the authorities in the period with Mariana Yanakevich, of the Association for Child and Family Empowerment AVE, IPN reports.
On March 11, 2020, the Moldovan authorities closed all the schools as an anti-epidemic measure. About 434,000 students from all the education institutions had to study from home. “At first, it was incredible. We imagined we will be called the second and third days and will be told that it was a nightmare and we should return. Retrospectively, this experience for me was really dramatic,” said Natalia Revenco.
Strictly from epidemiological viewpoint, the closure of schools worked, but schools could not remain closed long owing to the enormous social pressure.
Mariana Yanakevich said the state didn’t offer opportunities to the parents. For the parents, the school and kindergarten were the salvation. Petitions and protests for reopening the schools appeared. Towards the end of last summer, the education authorities announced seven possible scenarios: from everyone goes to school, in one or two shifts, to everyone studies online, plus combined variants. Each school could choose a variant with the involvement of parents, but not all the details were considered.
The authorities lost the occasion to adjust the scenarios during the three-month summer vacation. “They should have worked on the better quality of online teaching and on online teaching adjusted for the children with special educational needs.”
The podcast notes the access to education also meant access or absence of access to technologies. These details weren’t analyzed either. Only this April the authorities announced they will distribute 10,000 laptops all over the country, but it was known last summer already that 16,000 (4.8% of the total) and 32,000 teachers (10.6%) didn’t have computers, smartphones and Internet connection.
The podcast can be listened to online. The project is financed with the grant provided by Soros Foundation Moldova from the “Phase II COVID-19 Response” Reserve Fund for assisting the Republic of Moldova in fighting the spread of the novel coronavirus.