Parents see learning disadvantages due to school closures | free press


Berlin (dpa) – The months-long school closures due to Corona have slowed education for children and adolescents, according to most parents and students.

A large majority believe the closures caused learning disabilities, as a representative survey of fifth through 10th graders and parents in March and April by the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy revealed. Most of them indicated in the survey commissioned by the Deutsche Telekom Foundation that they got along well with so-called homeschooling. How good, but that depends a lot on the school and personal environment.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanked the students in a video message for their patience “and for giving up some things and helping us win the fight against Corona!”

Corona has probably increased inequality

Presenting the student survey in an online press conference, the former Federal Interior Minister and current President of the Telekom Foundation, Thomas de Maizière, said: “There is a not insignificant number of them who are more disadvantaged than before.” He spoke out in favor of the obligation to participate in the offer of tutoring. Voluntary summer camps or similar offerings would “use exactly for those who don’t need it the most”. Those who are more behind should receive a disproportionate amount of offers. “And there it should be no other than with obligations.”

Almost all parents and students see learning disadvantages

Education policy makers assume that every fourth or fifth student has built up a significant learning gap due to school closures and restrictions. In the current student survey, 27 percent believe that they and their classmates are ‘definitely’ behind when it comes to subject matter, 52 percent believe that they are ‘somewhat’ behind. Of the parents in this age group, 61 percent are concerned about their children’s learning disability. 49 percent believe that their child is ‘a little behind’ when it comes to learning material due to school closures, 32 percent say they are ‘considerably’ behind.

The majority did well through homeschooling, but…

When it comes to home schooling, students and parents have a mixed balance: 58 percent of children and young people say they cope well or very well, but a large part of 38 percent also cope with it less or not at all. The opinion of the parents, many of whom had to balance work and substitute teachers for months, is also mixed: 53 percent believe that the family has coped well or even very well with home learning, 42 percent do not see it that way.

It is striking that respondents who rate themselves as good students significantly more often indicate that they have passed the school closure period well. Secondary school students have a more positive balance than students of primary, secondary or broad school students. The technical equipment in your own household also plays a role in the assessment. The crisis has increased social differences and the influence of the circumstances in the parental home on the development of the students, according to director of the Allensbach Institute, Renate Köcher.

Positive effects too – but a plea for local schools

However, the state of emergency in schools also had some positive side effects: a majority of students believe they have become better at using computers and digital media, have made progress in researching information, and in organizing and doing things for themselves. That’s how parents see it.

Yet most would like the teaching of school materials to be largely taken over by the teachers in the school after Corona, instead of acquiring knowledge themselves. And almost all students (93 percent) would prefer that lessons take place ‘exclusively’ or ‘predominantly’ in school. This wish is even more pronounced among parents (96 percent).

The deputy chair of the FDP parliamentary group Katja Suding called for a “binding guarantee of lessons” for starting school after the summer holidays. “Face-to-face education shouldn’t be up for debate for a day,” she said. De Maizière said in view of the coming school year to warn not to announce exactly what will happen in a few weeks.

A lot can be learned before the autumn from what is happening in Britain now, with high numbers of infections, high vaccinations and at the same time a lot of openness. “This is a great experiment for society as a whole.” It is important to vaccinate as many people as possible. The better it is to keep the schools open.

Steinmeier said in his video message to the students that they more than deserved the summer vacation. “I wish you a nice holiday – and that after the holiday you can start the new school year together well prepared and as normally as possible.”