All the scenarios are open for this year’s nationwide exams, due to the coronavirus condition. Schools are closed and the possibility of extending the necessary ‘padlock’ is increasingly likely. It seems, indeed, that it will be very difficult for schools to open for a week before Easter. Thus, the Ministry of Education is examining the solutions, always in line with developments in the field of health and prevention for coronavirus.
1. Reduction of teaching time – Increase of hours
Depending on when schools open, reducing the teaching time from 45 minutes to 35, along with the necessary curriculum reform, is a powerful first scenario, to which one may add an hour by one hour. Third grade students are taught six hours per week of nationwide classes. It should be noted here that this year they have to deal with new material compared to other years.
2. Easter Vacation Lessons
If it is estimated that schools can open before the Easter holiday begins, consider replacing them during the two weeks of holiday. Such a replacement plan will bring the students to the desks for two or even three days each week of Easter holidays.
3. Change and reduction of matter
Changing and reducing the subject matter is a scenario that is not so simple for the Ministry of Education, since the nationwide exams are based on specific data. But if there is a major extension of school closure, this is something that must be considered. Note that this affects a number of issues: Disruption in the preparation of pupils and teachers, difficulty in managing the material fairly for Pan-Hellenic and others.
E-lessons for schools are something both the Minister of Education and the Prime Minister have described. It was noted that priority would be given to the Third High School. In fact, tests are already underway on the use of networks in order to continue the nationwide online courses.
On the subject of e-courses there are many thorns since, unlike universities, schools are not familiar to pupils or teachers. Also another issue is the connection of networks and equipment to remote areas, along with the financial opportunity for all students to have the necessary equipment. The issue of technical means and know-how is not simple. Many private schools have such platforms, which is not the case for many public schools, which will be technically utilized by universities (eg the Hellenic Open University has made available). In the case of concluding agreements with private companies this also means the corresponding costs.
5. Extension of the school year
The case of an extension of the school year, which will have a clear impact on the nationwide examinations, is the most difficult scenario for the Ministry of Education. The preparation of students and teachers also plays an important role here. Pan-Hellenic exams are a whole preparation and conducting mechanism. It should be noted that the extension of the school year does not mean nationwide only in July, but also possibly in September.
Each case has its own management issues. In the case of July, everything needs to be extended, which also means turmoil and costs (hiring teachers to deal with the nationwide). In the case of September there will be a start of the school year, as it means, and nationwide examinations, which is not at all easy. Also, the September scenario will bring new students later to universities, which also affects the academic year.
6. Tutorials: A parallel problem in performing nationwide is the operation of the tutorials, since if we want to see the reality associated with the exams. They are currently closed and when they will be opened is unknown. Some are looking for technical solutions for e-lessons so as not to waste time. It should be noted that if the school year is prolonged, this will also mean an increase in costs for students and their families who provide Greek nationals. After all, there are many cases where parents have prepaid tutorials. Financial adjustment is something that does not leave the lessons in the tutorials unaffected.