Berlin (dpa) – The corona pandemic has huge implications for the learning outcomes and development opportunities of children and adolescents worldwide.
How well the countries handled the situation largely depends on the size of the teachers. “Education systems in which teachers are accustomed to creating an innovative learning environment have weathered this crisis very well, even in difficult infection situations and without lengthy school closures,” said Andreas Schleicher, Director of Education at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) . ). on Wednesday at the launch of a survey of OECD member states.
In many countries, face-to-face and distance learning were alternated or students were divided into shifts. Special support offers for underprivileged schoolchildren or schoolchildren who did not have access to digital learning opportunities were also common. In Portugal and Brazil, for example, the school year was extended into the holidays to adjust teaching times. Some countries focus on the main topics in the curriculum. “Many countries responded relatively quickly,” said Schleicher. Germany did not do that well.
From the point of view of FDP Representative Katja Suding, the study highlights a well-known problem: “Our education system is slow and sluggish in many places,” she said. Countries where teachers had more creative freedom were able to respond much more quickly to the corona crisis and learned to teach much more reliably even under the difficult circumstances.
According to an OECD study, the government supports the purchase of technical terminal equipment for students and teachers in about 80 percent of the countries. Most (80 percent) also invested in the infrastructure of rural areas. Countries like Estonia or the Czech Republic would have had a huge advantage as they expanded the digital infrastructure long before the pandemic, OECD education director Schleicher emphasized. In this country they started ten years late. “Germany has been caught off guard by this digitalization pandemic.”
In Germany, federal and state governments have been recommending a multi-billion dollar study program for some time now. However, this shouldn’t start until the fall. Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) said Wednesday in the Bundestag in view of the burdens on families and students in the current year. “That is why we should not give them extra tasks now, but start the catch-up program from the autumn.” She called on the federal states – which are themselves responsible for the schools – to now collect the learning levels of the pupils, because only then could they make targeted adjustments.
An important lesson from the corona pandemic, according to the OECD, is that digital alternatives hardly work for younger students. “There is no substitute for face-to-face education, especially for younger students,” said the OECD expert. Most countries would have understood that too, which is why primary schools were often open even when secondary schools were closed.
In Germany, primary school students were the first to return to their facilities in February after the school closed in winter. Gradually, since March, older students are returning to alternative classes. However, some classes have not attended school since December, and the third wave has shaken up the entire return process.
For example, North Rhine-Westphalia added a week of distance learning to the Easter holidays. From next Monday, the students will alternately return to the classrooms, on the condition that the incidence is always below 200. Face-to-face education is already in place in many other countries, but there is great uncertainty about how much longer this will take.
So far the federal states have different rules: some send their students back to so-called distance learning when the incidence in a city or district is 100, others have higher values or no limit value at all, such as Saxony.
With the “Federal Emergency Brake” launched by the cabinet on Tuesday and which still has to go through the Bundestag and Bundesrat, there should also be national rules for school closures in the future. If the seven-day incidence exceeds 200 on three consecutive days in a rural or urban neighborhood, face-to-face teaching in schools should be prohibited.
The Chair of the Conference of Ministers of Education and the Minister of Education of Brandenburg Britta Ernst (SPD) welcomed the project. In view of the previous proceedings with the 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 put stress on all nerves. “