Distance learning: Concerns about the widening educational gap between students – in Latvia – News

And it can widen the educational gap between students from different schools, which is already recognized as a problem.

“I think we should all think of inviting teachers to try to identify as much as possible their students who may have these difficulties or objective circumstances why they are not doing so well with self-directed learning and taking the opportunity to develop an individually personalized [pieeju], trying to pay attention to groups of students who are at risk of falling behind in their progress, ”emphasizes Guntars Catlaks, Director of the Department of Policy Initiatives and Development of the Ministry of Education and Science, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Science.

The course of distance learning is also evaluated within the framework of the accreditation process of institutions. The State Service for the Quality of Education acknowledges that there are many complaints about congestion in the distance learning process – for both children and teachers.

In this situation, it is necessary to think about what to give up in the curriculum, because it is not possible to transfer everything from one model to another.

“The content of education, the subject matter cannot be removed as much as in the face-to-face process. This means that learning is slower and needs reorganization. Consequently, those schools that have changed the timetable have certainly acted more meaningfully, ”says Inita Juhņēviča, Head of the State Education Quality Service. She also points out that “during this time, the teacher definitely needs support both from the school management and, of course, from the state, providing both continuing education courses and the necessary methodological materials.”

Inga Vanaga, the head of the Latvian Trade Union of Educators and Researchers (LIZDA), points out – taking into account the availability of different resources and the fact that there are places where small classes already learn remotely, that there is a different technology provision, internet quality – the minimum for such an emergency work regime, which is what needs to be learned so that there is also this knowledge gap and too great a gap between schools.

According to the Minister of Education, problems with the power and accessibility of the Internet have been identified in 180 schools.

In cooperation with the Riga Business School, a solution has just been found for 20 schools, for the rest it could be until February, when diagnostic work should start. The Internet is not meant for students. The Ministry of Education and Science hopes that at the end of December there will also be video materials in the project “Your class” – this time – in the form of catalogs by study topics.

But the main question is when students will be able to return to school at least in part. It is possible that solutions will be sought so that this can happen after December 6, until which time limits are currently set.

The wearing of masks in schools is being considered, for both pupils and teachers, as is the case in many parts of Europe.

And schools should also evaluate their premises – how to use them to reduce mutual contacts.

“It is not for nothing that we created models A, B and C. (..) a lot of schools see that they would be ready to work one week in person, one remotely, and it is clear that we will try to go to this model after December 6, ”says Šuplinska.

As a precondition, there will be no more than four percent positive Covid-19 tests from all those performed in Latvia during the day.

“If this is not possible, the school should think, for example, about the fifth, sixth grade at least partially in the remote process, but again – keeping the 1st to 4th maximum. and making sure that they have the support of teachers and that parents still feel confident that the child is being taught basic skills in how to work at school in general, ”points out the Minister of Education and Science Ilga Šuplinska.

If the situation does not improve, it is considered that at least the graduation classes should return to the school from the senior class group during the spring semester.

Data compiled by the Ministry of Education show that out of 30 European countries (EU and EEA), 14 continued full-time or part-time studies, including secondary education, in mid-November, and only five countries have no full-time studies.

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