Nearly all primary and secondary schools have uploaded materials on e-learning platforms, but a decision on whether online teaching will continue during the Easter holidays has not yet been made, head of the paedagogical institute Athina Michaelidou said on Monday.
“The ministry will continue to upload materials during the holidays, and a decision regarding the syllabus will be made in the next few days,” she said.
All schools have been sent the materials needed for teaching remotely at all levels, and the ministry says it is making a huge effort to communicate with the few heads of schools which have not responded as they should have.
“The big majority of schools, more than 90 per cent, have prepared their action plans, have uploaded materials on their websites and have contacted the parents. Some have sent the information on how to enter the systems to the phones of the parents,” Michaelidou added.
There have been some complaints by parents who said they have not received the information. According to Michaelidou, the ministry acts on these immediately, contacting the schools to find out where the problems originate.
Not all teachers agree that the ministry has been proactive at all times.
“At the start we were waiting for instructions so we started on our own initiative. It took the ministry some time to react because they are not familiar with the classroom conditions,”said a maths teacher from the Kokkinothrimithia gymnasium.
She is worried how much the students really get out of the e-learning, though she acknowledges it is the best thing that can be done at the moment.
“It is no relation to what it is like teaching in the classroom. You cannot reach the class with distance learning. What worries me is whether all students are learning,” she said. “The weaker students are losing out. I video the lesson and upload it for them afterwards to watch again as well as a document on the main points we have covered but I don’t know if the extra support helps, some of them are struggling.”
For additional support, at least for small children, the education ministry has disseminated a video to all TV stations, telling them what the coronavirus is and how they can protect themselves.
While the Cyprus Broadcasting information has already started to broadcast educational material for primary and pre-primary school children, other private TV stations have also shown a great interest in doing so, Michaelidou told the Cyprus Mail. The education ministry is in the process of sending out the material and the stations will soon respond, she said.
The CyBC series of programmes which is broadcast daily at 8.50am and 3pm by CyBC2 is entitled ‘I live at home and learn from TV’.
The first episode has already been aired and the second was scheduled to be shown on Monday.
The episodes are:
Episode 1: Puppet show ‘I stay home’ (Greek)
Episode 2: My personal protection (Greek)
Episode 3: Dear zoo (English)
Episode 4: Mathematics for pre-primary with Menelaos (Greek)
Episode 5: The Cyprus fairy tale – The hedgehog (Greek)
Episode 6: The very hungry caterpillar (English)
Episode 7: Elementary mathematics – Fifi and Fofo, the imaginary whales (Greek)
Episode 8: Health education – Personal hygiene (Greek)
The programmes will be available on the CyBC website cybc.com.cy at the ‘video on demand’ link.