Online event with Dialogue with former ministers of education.

"Dialogue with former ministers of Education: After one year of COVID-crisis: What have we learned?"

Date: May 11, 2021
Speakers - Former ministers of Education: Maria do Carmo Seabra (Portugal) Ruth Kelly (United Kingdom) and Francesco Profumo (Italy).
Co-organisers: OIEC; ECNAS and EPA.

Ignasi Grau

Main ideas of this online event:

The speakers explained the main actions their countries made during the first lockdown on the first period of the pandemic. All stakeholders agreed on the fact that during the first phase of the pandemic the world of education was not prepared to face the consequences of an online school even if the actors (parents, students and teachers) were trying to do their best by being optimistic. After a year, these technological problems are still relevant even though in these three countries significant improvements have been introduced. In addition, we see that the problems associated with this crisis are very different between the public sector and the private sector.

Ruth Kelly

How to deal with this crisis:

The former ministers considered that an online school needs improvement, not only from a technological and infrastructure point of view but also pedagogically.

Francesco Profumo

A greater administrative, organizational and pedagogical autonomy of schools is necessary, which will avoid the constraints linked to an excessive bureaucracy or a lack of responsiveness. In addition, collaboration between public schools and private schools is essential to overcome the effects of this crisis, for example sharing innovative ideas in terms, for example, of management or technological solutions, which would lead to a better quality of teaching.

Maria do Carmo Seabra

It is also essential to provide a support system for parents and students. For example, creating programs to help students should be introduced: such as tutoring or summer schools, to overcome the academic consequences of this crisis and to help students in difficulty. It should be noted that parents must be involved in all of this system.

One of the measures envisaged by the speakers requires that schools need to create specific spaces available for small groups of  students who face difficulties at home to study in a quieter atmosphere. Homeschooling is not always easy depending on the personal circumstances of each student.

School is not just an academic space but also a social space. Allowing limited student meetings would be socially beneficial for students and for parents. We must fight social isolation.

You can watch the event on YouTube: