The sudden changes in the school year caused confusion

Students, teachers and parents were not so happy about the changes in the school year, especially about the extension of the spring break and the re-introduction of online learning for students in graduating classes, Hungarian news portal maszol.ro reports. According to teachers and parents asked by maszol.ro, the changes adopted by the Ministry of Education are regrettable because not only the students but professors and families also welcomed getting back to traditional schooling in the second semester and think decision-makers should have insisted more on doing so.

“A lot of confusion has been caused by sudden changes in decision-making, which did not serve efficiency nor create a good mood,” Alpár Ferencz Salamon, the vice-president of the Hungarian Teacher’s Association of Romania, told maszol.ro, stressing that the association particularly resents the fact that the measures were adopted in a chaotic manner. According to Salamon, in towns or villages with a higher rate of infection, the introduction of safety measures is understandable, but the decision-making should have been more calculated.

As Salamon explained, the ministry did not choose the best solution, as it does not help students to keep up with the curriculum. According to him, the school year should have been modified in such a way to have allowed graduate students to prepare for the graduation exams and, in the case of non-graduates, to learn the curriculum properly. Sending students off for a month-long spring break does not serve these goals, he said.

The vice-president of the association thinks that the ideal solution would have been the introduction of distance learning in towns or villages with high infection rates while keeping traditional teaching elsewhere.

Csengele Csíky, the president of the Hungarian Parents Association, thinks this solution is a “bittersweet success.” On the one hand, Csíky welcomes the fact that the graduation exams and national assessments (exams taken at the end of eighth grade) were not rescheduled, but on the other hand, she does not agree with the month-long spring break. As the association president explained: This decision is characterized by the same chaos as all other decisions, and she does not understand why the ministry insists on it if several professionals and the public alike think it is illogical, meaningless.

“Until now, we have somewhat understood the point of these measures, and we have been able to partially agree with them because we saw the light at the end of the tunnel, but this decision has no meaning at all. The biggest problem is that in this moment, we have no device to stop it,”  Csíky told maszol.ro. The association president also stressed that the parents do not understand how children can go back to school in May after taking four weeks of vacation nor how graduating students will be able to take their tests – even though the month-long vacation does not apply to them. “We only hope that we can survive this school year somehow, and there will be a period of time for everyone to calm down,” she added.

School inspector: The date of the national assessments may change

The decision to restructure the school year was not well thought out, and there are many obstacles in the organization of the national assessments, Imre Kiss, School Inspector of Kovászna (Covasna) County, said at a press conference on Wednesday. As Kiss explained, the last school week for non-graduating classes coincides with the date of these exams.

According to Kiss, the last school week is usually very busy; teachers have a lot of bureaucratic tasks to handle and are also preoccupied with failing students, but they won’t have time for these if they have to supervise the tests and then grade them. Infrastructure represents the other problem, as it is mandatory to vacate school buildings where the exams are organized and the papers are graded, so no other activities can be organized there, he explained.

According to the school inspector, moving the last week to the online sphere is not a solution either, as there will be no teachers who would be able to teach these classes due to the national exams. Imre Kiss said that the structure of the school year still needs to be reconsidered, so the time of the testing for eighth-graders may change later.

Title image: The president of the Hungarian Parents Association questions how parents can send their children back to school in May after four weeks of vacation. Photo: Getty Images

Author: Orsi Sarány