Research conducted by the Foundation for Internet and Society Metamorphosis, titled as “Conditions and challenges in the implementation of the online teaching process in elementary schools” shows that the teachers and students in North Macedonia face heavy challenges for the upcoming 2020/2021 school year. The situation with technical aids, most of all laptops and computers that are necessary for the mandatory online education process are one of the main problems. Almost half of the participants (44.5 %) have stated that they are using their own laptop for the needs at the school. On the other hand, the teaching personnel, in most cases (84.9 %) is using private email addresses for official communication which is problematic in several ways, especially regarding minors’ personal data protection.
The data was gathered in two phases: an anonymous online survey that was implemented during the period between 26th of June and 15th of July, intended for the teaching personnel, the management and the administrative and professional services at the elementary schools in the Republic of North Macedonia. And there were three separate focus groups during the period between the 26-27th of August 2020, with a focus on the teaching personnel, the management, and the parents of pupils attending elementary school. The goal of the research is to determine the conditions and the challenges of the online education at elementary schools in the RNM in the period between March and June 2020.
The research shows that almost one third of the teaching personnel (31.6 %) has access to Internet at school only through their mobile phones. Also, the results show that most of the teachers during the online teaching process have faced with challenges of an administrative nature such as the lack of clear directions how to run an electronic portfolio (82.4 %) and especially, clear directions for the evaluation process (85 %).
Almost all of the participants in the research (88.9 %) agree that for a successful implementation of an efficient online teaching process the usual methods in the teaching process should be applied. A significant number (30 %) consider that a better option of “a single platform for all” would be when the schools would have a certain freedom during the selection of the platforms and the software through which the online education would be implemented for their pupils.
Around 45 % of the respondents agree with the stance that “In the education process there is a satisfying percentage of materials in all languages that the education process is carried out” while 70 % of the teachers that are implementing the education process on another language (other than Macedonian) do not agree with this opinion.
Regarding the school books and other educational resources, almost all of the participants (93.9%) agree with the stance that for a successful online education a complete or partial adaptation of the school books is necessary.
The research is carried out as part of the Open Educational Resources project, supported by the Foundation Open Society-Macedonia.