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Latvia has had remote learning longer than EU average

In the academic year 2020/2021, onsite learning in Latvia has not taken place for a longer time than average in European countries, according to information gathered by the Ministry of Education and Science (IZM), Latvian Television broadcast “De facto” reported April 11.

In many cities and municipalities of Latvia, remote learning for some age groups is carried out for the sixth month in a row, and specialists have raised concerns about the emotional health of children, particularly teens.

By the end of March in Europe, the average remote learning time in secondary school was 2.2 months and three in high school, according to IZM. In Latvia, it was 3.2 months for the fifth, sixth grades and five months for older grades.

According to a survey conducted by IZM, pupils are not showing much motivation. The survey was carried out among the older - 12th graders -  and showed that 63% had indicated lack of motivation and difficulty of concentrating as the most significant barrier to a fully fledged learning process remotely. About half (53%) of those surveyed have also said the load was too high, and many also missed their schoolmates (42%).

School psychologists acknowledge that organizing their daily lives independently, planning learning, is one of the most difficult tasks for teens. And the longer the children learn remotely, the more problems can accumulate.

Remote learning hardships frequently affect also educators themselves. In order to avoid burnout teachers, several support programs have also been launched, both national and local.

The possibility that all pupils will return to schools in the near future is very unlikely. But Latvia has to start thinking about the next year when pupils will hopefully return to schools, and after such a long break, consideration will be given to both joint extracurricular arrangements and support to re-learn to study in person. In order to improve the situation in schools, the Minister for Education promises that support for teachers, self-help courses for pupils, parents, teachers will be in place by the end of the year.

In parallel, the future relies heavily on the epidemiological situation in the autumn and of teacher vaccination process. Vaccination of teachers in Latvia begins Monday, April 12.

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