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Coronavirus: Parents worried online learning taking its toll on children’s education (updated)

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Parents are worried that online teaching is taking a toll on their children’s education, a survey by the Cyprus Institute of Statisticians published by the Cyprus News Agency on Monday concluded.

The report came as Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said he hoped that all secondary school pupils will be back in class soon.

Prodromou said everyone involved wanted in person teaching and expressed the hope that the scientific advisors would give the green light.

According to the survey, carried out by telephone between February 10 and 14 among a sample of 401 parents of secondary school pupils, 65 per cent believe their children are not applying themselves online as much as they would in class.

And three out of four parents (76 per cent) worry that their children will have lower exam results because of online teaching, with only 24 per cent expecting grades to be the same.

The conclusion, according to the Cyprus Institute of Statisticians, is that there is great concern among parents of secondary school pupils that online teaching is creating pupils who are turning their backs on school, the Cyprus News Agency added.

Online school reduces the effort pupils put into acquiring knowledge and pupils have lower expectations, it concluded.

All schools remained closed after the Christmas holidays while students in primary school and the final year of high school returned on February 8. When the remainder will be allowed to return to the classroom is expected to be announced by the Council of Ministers on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters after visiting schools in Larnaca, Prodromou said it was an opportunity to discuss the school year in the hope that in the next few days and as part of the gradual lifting of restrictions, there will be physical presence of pupils in the two other lyceum years and in the gymnasiums.

“The decisions will be taken in the next few days,” he said.

Asked whether pupils will return to school in two stages or all on the same day, Prodromou said this remained to be seen once the health ministry’s experts have studied the situation.

“We are waiting to see what the guidelines will be, but I have said that our wish is to see the remaining classes integrated into the schools immediately,” he said.

With the partial lifting of the measures on February 8, some 60,000 pupils – primary school and final year lyceum, returned to public schools and several thousands to private schools.

“The remainder, the gymnasiums and two years of lyceums corresponds to about 35,000 pupils in the public schools. This is about half than the first time. I hope it will be possible to have all the pupils in school, because truth be told, nothing can replace teaching with a physical presence in class.”

Asked about the Pancyprian exams, he urged pupils not to worry as these will be based on the syllabus taught, taking also into consideration that what has been taught online caries from school to school, while April and May will focus on revision.

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