A new school year is less than two months away. However, given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it's not sure yet how classes are going to be held. If we take into consideration the current situation, when the number of new cases of infection is on the rise, classes will probably start on line. The Education Ministry is currently analyzing several scenarios, one of them being that of alternating physical and on-line attendance. Minister Monica Anisie has said that the best scenario would be the one in which some pupils will go to school, while others will attend classes on-line, and then they will switch, also in keeping with the epidemiological developments. A final decision will be made by an inter-ministerial group, established at Government level.
The decision to hold classes on-line was made in spring, when the state of emergency was declared, with the aim of curbing the spread of the new coronavirus. Teachers, schools and pupils had to adapt to this new type of education, for the educational process to keep going. As officials with the Education Ministry have admitted, things went better in the urban areas, as compared to the rural ones, where people can afford less, also in terms of education. On the other hand, even if Romania is top of the rankings with regard to internet speed, which should favour the new type of education, not everybody has access to the internet.
Therefore, the Romanian Parliament has adopted a law under which the Education Ministry must provide pupils and teachers with the necessary infrastructure, both devices and internet connection, for everybody to be able to access the Virtual School Library, the e-learning platform and other platforms endorsed by the ministry. A donation of tablets has already started and the education minister says that the distribution of devices should be completed by the start of the new school year in all disadvantaged communities. Both civil society and the Romanian Orthodox Church have participated in this effort.
In the meantime, the National Evaluation and the Baccalaureate examinations have been held, both by strictly observing the necessary sanitary conditions, given the pandemic. Pupils went to their schools to sit for the exams, but they wore masks and kept the distance, and those who had a fever or were in isolation benefited from a special examination session. The examination curricula did not include the subject matters taught in the second semester, during the pandemic.
Minister Monica Anisie has thanked the over 76 thousand teachers, principals and inspectors, as well as the local public authorities for the way in which they made sure all the necessary safety measures were taken. Also, both pupils and parents were congratulated for the way in which they adapted to the new, difficult conditions. (M. Ignatescu)