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Coronavirus: primary-school parents concerned about distance learning

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The Pancyprian Confederation of Parents’ Associations for Primary Education expressed their concerns on Wednesday over distance learning that has been imposed to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

In a statement, the association said many parents were not sufficiently prepared to implement the measure and said it could potentially widen the gap between privileged and non-privileged pupils.

“Public schools have the obligation and duty to safeguard all pupils’ access to distance education,” the association said.

“Based on our feedback, at this time, there are families of pupils who either do not have access to the internet, or do not have the technology at home for distance education,” it added.

There was also a delay in teacher training in distance learning “which reinforces our doubts about when it will work and if in fact it will work for the benefit of our pupils,” the association said.

It also said that They also say that elementary school students, due to their age, may not be able to absorb information adequately in such a learning environment.

“Certainly, such a project cannot transfer the responsibility to parents or guardians for help. We emphasise that not all parents and guardians are technologically literate and therefore not all can help their children, either in installing or loading software, or in relation to familiarity with the mode of operation.”

The association asks the education ministry to inform parents whether it has made provision for safeguarding all pupils’ access to distance education and what precautions have been taken.

Parents also suggest that the implementation of distance education be limited, at least at this stage, through preparation and sending of materials exclusively from the school website.

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