A high-level ministerial meeting was convened on “One year into Covid: Prioritizing education recovery to avoid a generational catastrophe”, in the frame of which three parallel online sessions were organized. The event was attended by the Education Ministers and senior officials of the partner organizations collaborating with UNESCO.
RA Deputy Minister Zhanna Andreasyan participated in the session “Keeping schools open, prioritizing and supporting teachers.” The Deputy Minister underlined the importance of such meetings in terms of sharing best practices for the realization of the right of every child to education.
“The year 2020 was full of challenges for our country, not only in the sense of COVID-19 but also because of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh in September, which impacted the spread of the second wave of coronavirus,” noted Zhanna Andreasyan, informing that the 2020-2021 academic year in Armenia, began on September 14 in line with the requirements of the procedures and the guidelines developed as a result of interdepartmental cooperation. In this regard, she presented the activities carried out in the field of education to overcome the pandemic.
According to the Deputy Minister, a situational approach is currently implemented: that is if the cases of coronavirus among the school staff and pupils exceed 10%, then the school shifts to distance learning. If the learner suffers from one of the diseases on the risk group, or a family member is in the risk group of the coronavirus then the NCET organizes the learning process for this learner remotely.
“Currently about 5000 pupils are enrolled in distance learning. Such measures enable us to keep schools open and at the same time reduce the spread of the diseases. Regarding the health and safety of teachers, I should note that the teachers in the high-risk group of developing coronavirus disease, as well as at the age group 65 and older, were given the opportunity to choose the organization of work, including the option of working remotely under certain conditions,” stated the Deputy Minister.
According to her, in case of absenteeism of teachers, the school can involve substitute teachers to cover the vacant hours. In addition, predicting a possible outbreak of the pandemic during the academic year, the National Center for Educational Technologies conducted a training of teachers on "Distance learning skills” to ensure the continuity of the learning process for pupils. At the end of her speech, Zhanna Andreasyan thanked the participants for the exchange of experience and expressed hope that this challenge will soon be overcome.
It should be noted that the aim of the event was to ensure a political dialogue on education issues on urgent and current challenges, as well as to mobilize partners to support pupils, teachers and policymakers with new tools, knowledge and skills.