School in Corona times: deficits revealed

Education School in Corona times: deficits revealed

Coronavirus Berlin

A quick test, an FFP2 mask and other utensils are on a school table during a test run with corona quick tests at the elementary school in the Köllnische Heide in Berlin-Neukölln. Photo: Christoph Soeder / dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

Many students are suffering from the restrictions caused by the Corona crisis. Experts want more pragmatic solutions. There is a need for improvement, especially when it comes to digitization.

The corona pandemic has massive effects on the learning outcomes and development opportunities of children and adolescents worldwide.

How well the countries coped with the situation mostly depends on the teachers' scope. "Education systems in which teachers are used to creating an innovative learning environment have got through this crisis very well even in difficult infection situations and without long school closings," said Andreas Schleicher, Director of Education at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). on Wednesday at the launch of a survey among OECD member states.

In many countries, face-to-face and distance learning were alternated or the students were divided into shifts. Special support offers for disadvantaged pupils or pupils who did not have access to digital learning opportunities were also frequent. In Portugal and Brazil, for example, the school year was extended into the holidays in order to adapt the lesson times. Some countries focus on the most important subjects in the curriculum. "Many countries reacted relatively quickly," said Schleicher. Germany did not do that so well.

From the point of view of FDP parliamentary deputy Katja Suding, the study shows a well-known problem: "Our education system is slow and slow in many places," she said. Countries in which teachers had more creative freedom were able to react much faster to the corona crisis and teach students much more reliably, even under the difficult conditions.

According to an OECD study, the government supports the purchase of technical end devices for students and teachers in around 80 percent of the countries. Most (80 percent) also invested in the infrastructure of rural areas. Countries like Estonia or the Czech Republic had an enormous advantage, as they had expanded the digital infrastructure long before the pandemic, emphasized OECD Education Director Schleicher. In this country they started ten years too late. "Germany has been caught off guard by this pandemic in the area of ​​digitization."

In Germany, the federal and state governments have been advising a billion-dollar tutoring program for some time. However, this should only start in autumn. Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek (CDU) said on Wednesday in the Bundestag with a view to the burdens on families and students in the current year. "That's why we shouldn't give them additional tasks now, but instead start the catch-up program from autumn." She called on the federal states - which are responsible for schools themselves - to collect the learning levels of the students now, because only then could they make targeted adjustments.

According to the OECD, an important lesson from the corona pandemic is that digital alternatives hardly work for younger students. “There is no substitute for face-to-face teaching, especially for younger pupils,” said the OECD expert. Most countries would have understood that too, which is why the primary schools were often open even when the secondary schools were closed.

In Germany, primary school students were the first to return to their facilities in February after the school closings in winter. Gradually, since March, older students have also been returning to alternate classes. Some classes have not been back to school since December and the third wave has shaken the whole return process.

For example, North Rhine-Westphalia added a week of distance learning to the Easter holidays. Starting next Monday, the students should now alternately return to the classrooms, provided the incidence value is regionally below 200 in each case. In many other countries face-to-face teaching is already running again, but there is great uncertainty as to how much longer.

So far, the states have had different rules: some send their students back to so-called distance learning when the incidence in a city or district is 100, some have higher values ​​or no limit value at all, like Saxony.

With the “Federal Emergency Brake” launched by the Cabinet on Tuesday, which still has to pass through the Bundestag and Bundesrat, there should in future be nationwide rules even when schools are closed. If the 7-day incidence exceeds 200 on three consecutive days in a rural district or urban district, face-to-face teaching in schools should be prohibited.

The President of the Conference of Education Ministers and Brandenburg Education Minister Britta Ernst (SPD) welcomed the project. With a view to the previous procedure with Prime Minister's Conferences, subsequent changes to the respective Corona state regulations and finally, often very short-term information for schools, the SPD politician said on Wednesday in an online discussion by the official association dbb: I think it would be a good step because it strained all nerves. "