The Ministry of Education delegated the decision on the percentage of teaching time to be allocated to synchronous classes to the schools. The President of the National Association of Public School Group Directors, Filinto Lima, tells the PUBLIC that the time in front of the computer screen will be shorter for younger students, adding that a benchmark has been drawn for this department.
“We have a reference value [para a ocupação do tempo lectivo com aulas online] 70%. In relation to secondary education, this figure may increase as students are older and have greater autonomy. Of course, this value is very high in preschool. This percentage rises or falls depending on the teaching cycle, ”explains Filinto Lima. This adjustment – which will be determined by the return of class activities scheduled for Monday – goes through the direction of each school, but Filinto Lima says this trend of reducing computer class time for the youngest should be transversal.
In the United States, the Illinois Department of Education sent recommendations to schools to ease the transition to digital education in the first wave of Covid-19. This March 2020 document warned of the diminished ability of younger students to have “sustained attention.” The experts pointed out that five to ten minutes was the maximum concentration time for 1st to 2nd year children in an online class, while that capacity could reach 15 minutes for 3rd to 5th year students.
This statistic is one of the decisive factors in reducing the screen time of the youngest, admits Filinto Lima using the example. “For the little ones, the schedule is 25 lessons per week. If I say schools are thinking of having an interaction or two – it can’t even be said to be classes but more activities – in sync per week, you can see that the percentage will be very small. These are very short activities, they don’t last two hours, ”he explains.
The Executive Director of the Association of Private and Cooperative Educational Institutions, Rodrigo Queiroz e Melo, also stresses the importance of differentiating between age groups and also points to the reduced autonomy of recent teaching activities. “It is necessary to make a clear distinction between age, not least because the way in which students’ attention is organized is very different from that [ensino] Presence. Younger people have a harder time focusing on the same task. On the other hand, there is less autonomy. This requires a completely different approach while we are in synchronous sessions, ”he explains to PÚBLICO.
Rodrigo Queiroz e Melo adds that activities are planned for the youngest students that require as little assistance as possible in order to save parents extra work during working hours. Taking the opportunity to praise the freedom the government has given schools to make this transition, the Chairman believes that the lack of definition is the main challenge.
“If we knew that classes would be online for the remainder of the academic year, we would have an organization. If we knew it would only be 15 days or three weeks it would be different. The planning of the curriculum itself is very different. We need to give the subject and ensure that older students have access to everything they need to prepare for national exams. Should we invest in consolidation work now because we will have more time personally afterwards? Or should we go forward? [na matéria]? “, He asks.
The government buys 15,000 computers, 335,000 have yet to be delivered
The Council of Ministers this Thursday approved the cost of buying an additional 15,000 computers, a number joining the 100,000 that have been shipped to needy secondary school students. It is worth remembering that the government is still awaiting the arrival of another 335,000 laptops, the delivery of which was delayed due to delivery problems from manufacturers.
According to Manuel Pereira of the National Association of School Leaders, there is still no deadline for the arrival of these devices, which means that outside of secondary school there are still students with no technological means for distance learning. The schools are looking for alternatives to these situations. “Like in March [de 2020]Schools are looking for solutions for these students so as not to leave anyone behind. Different solutions have been found: councilors, parishes, operations assistants, etc. The problem is less now – because some students managed to get a computer – but it still exists, ”he complains.
Manuel Pereira reveals that it is considering the hypothesis that students with “the most complicated cases” can continue to attend school in person. “A few days a week we would like these students to be accompanied by teachers,” he says.
At a meeting with the National and Democratic Teachers’ Union on Tuesday, the Deputy State Secretary for Education, João Costa, justified the lack of 335,000 laptops with the “blockade of” Frugais “in the EU and logistical problems with China”. as recorded in the minutes of the meeting published on that union’s website.
Filinto Lima also regrets the delay in the arrival of these devices, as the help of the local authorities was essential in meeting these requirements. Across the country, several city councils have offered computers, tablets and internet packages to equip students for distance learning.