Фото: Annie Spratt на Unsplash

Four days have passed since the new school year began, with most of the pupils and students using the national platform for distance learning. The challenges that the teachers and the students face are numerous and are happening every day, but, from what can be seen, generally, the teachers have managed to get through the whole process.

Technical obstacles and problems are occurring every day during this period of the school year. For the pupils attending the fifth grade in one elementary school in Skopje, today’s classes began at 8.30 am. Each of the pupils sat in front of its computer, laptop, tablet, or a mobile telephone in their homes, and the teacher was at her post in front of a laptop. During the math class, the pupils were learning about the numbers up to 10.000 and while she was talking suddenly the tone stopped since one of the children turned the sound off.

“I think it is all right now, can you hear me? This is a class children, do not turn off the sound,” said the teacher.

“There was interference and I didn’t hear you. Can you please repeat what you just said,” replied one of the children.

“You shouldn’t interrupt me while I’m reading. You should click on the hand icon in order to have a word. Please, don’t talk all at once,” requested the teacher.

“Teacher, I can hear you all, but you cannot hear me. What should I do? My microphone is turned on and it shows that everything is all right, but I don’t know why you cannot hear me,” replied another pupil.

This was part of a conversation between the teacher and the pupils during the class. A significant part of the time was lost to technical issues. Despite the weak Internet connection that some of the pupils had, but also some of the teachers who were in the school, still, the teachers put an effort to overcome the problems and to deliver lectures.

Some pupils have no school books for certain school subjects, so when giving home assignments, the teachers photograph the task and then send it in the Viber group.

For the Ministry of Education and Science (MOE), the online teaching model is a success. They inform that since the start of the school year, the number of pupils who are attending online teaching has increased by 10%.

In less than a week, around 80% of the students in secondary and primary schools successfully took part in online teaching and this percentage is getting increased since the start of the school year. The rest, students, pupils, and teachers in secondary and primary education have reported difficulties when logging in the online teaching and most often the reason for that is the band internet connection or lack of devices.

The Ministry for Education and Science is coordinating with the mayors, local self-governments, and the directors at schools, and they are working on overcoming these challenges. The Ministry for Education and Science informs that the online teaching model is deemed functional and successful, and both the teachers and the pupils are pleased by the ways the distance learning process is occurring,” said the press release issued by MOE.

They appeal to all of those that are boycotting the teaching that each lost day is damaging the children. All pupils must start the school year and most important of all is that the education process must continue.

“MOE informs that over 98 % of the pupils from first until third grade are following the teaching process with a physical attendance at schools and little less than 2 % are studying with the distance learning process. For the pupils that have no devices for online learning and they still have to study from a distance the classes are successfully being broadcasted through 15-minute lectures via the National Broadcasting Service. Also, the teachers are obliged to print materials for those pupils and to submit them regularly. They are also obliged to attain regular communication with the pupils and their families so they could monitor the pupil’s progress with the learning material” said the ministry.