Education in times of pandemic, identified problems and recommendations for authorities

Education in times of a pandemic cannot be of a high quality when the students do not have technologies, Internet connection and conditions for studying at home, while the teachers have to deal with the discrepancy between  the curriculum and the regulations worked out by the authorities. These do not have the equipment needed to teach lessons online appropriately and their working conditions worsened considerably after the pandemic started, says a study conducted by the National Youth Council.

In a news conference at IPN, the Council’s deputy head Teodora Panuş stated that 51% of the teachers said more than five students in their class could not attend the online lessons because they do not have connection devices. 31% of the young people who have sisters or bothers of school age said they do not all have an own device to connect to online lessons. 16% of the parents said their children didn’t attend all the lessons because they do not have a personal computer or these used the computer of their parents or siblings.

“The students from socially disadvantaged categories were the most affected ones as they didn’t have devices and methods for connecting to the Internet. Those with incomes lower than 3,000 and 1,500 lei a month were the most marginalized ones in this process,” stated Teodora Panuş.  68% of the students who could not access the online lessons said the teachers didn’t help them to assimilate the previous content. 58% of the parents whose children didn’t attend all the lessons said their children assimilated only a part of the content or nothing.

54% of the parents of seventh-twelfth graders said that after the pandemic started, their children’s psychological state has worsened. The students do not have an appropriate working space at home. The parents do not know how to help them and do not organize their time and eating program. The stress, tiredness, sedentariness and psycho-emotional state affect both the young people and teachers.

“The teaching of the curriculum online is not efficient. The curriculum is not adjusted for being taught online,” said a teacher who was interviewed as part of the study. The working conditions have worsened owing to multiple new tasks, lack of a balanced timetable and costs covered at the own expense. The teachers noted they do not have a centralized system that would enable them to constantly supervise the students and to digitally assess them, while the parents become involved marginally in the process of supervising and helping the students.

National Youth Council secretary general Roman Banari recommended the authorities to equip the young people, especially the vulnerable ones, with devices and Internet connection, to ensure an individual learning program with the necessary materials for the students who do not have access to technologies and to regulate the volume of homework according to the number of recommended hours spent online. Also, the teachers should be trained, outfitted with modern technology, Internet connection of a high quality. The curriculum should be reviewed and adjusted for online learning and textbooks with web items should be designed. The authorities should device a common learning, assessment and monitoring platform and should systematically monitor the frequency and communication with parents and students, lay emphasis on subjects that will be tested in Baccalaureate exams and ngage students in taking decisions.

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