The number of parents opposing online education is growing rapidly in the country. Adults are afraid that the distance in schools can be introduced on an ongoing basis, and the coronavirus pandemic only accelerates the digitalization of education previously planned by the authorities.
These fears are not unfounded. On November 18, the State Duma will consider a bill on distance education in Russia. The State Duma Committee on Education and Science recommended the document for adoption in the first reading. The new law will define the powers of the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Education in terms of regulating the procedure for using e-learning and distance technologies in educational institutions.
In recent weeks, protests against remote control have been taking place in different regions of Russia. Parents are organizing large-scale flash mobs against remote removal on social networks, boycotting online classes for whole classes and collecting signatures under appeals to the authorities. Despite accusations of COVID dissidence, the movement is gathering more and more supporters. We found out what really drives adults to demand to return their children to school, despite the threat of coronavirus infection.
“The fight against remoteness is not a story at all about COVID, but about the large-scale destruction of Russian education that has been happening in the last 15-20 years,” says Ekaterina, an opponent of remote control from Yekaterinburg. – Plans for large-scale digitalization of schools appeared among officials 10 years ago, the pandemic only accelerated these processes. The experiment on the implementation of the Digital educational environment, which started in the fall in 15 regions of the country without parental consent, was approved by the former Minister of Education Olga Vasilyeva at the end of 2019. In federal projects for the development of education for the coming years, it is stated in plain text that by 2024 at least 70% of schools must implement education in electronic form. All of these goals were set long before the pandemic. We do not deny that distance can be used as a temporary measure in emergency situations, as well as on an ongoing basis with parental consent. Of course, electronic technology is essential for learning, for example, for children with disabilities who are unable to attend school. However, we do not want an equal sign between the distance and the point.
Parents are outraged and surprised that while the doors of public schools, circles and sections have closed for children, private educational organizations continue to work safely. It comes to the ridiculous, in the same sports center, children cannot be engaged in budgetary sections, but they can do it in paid ones. It turns out that full-time education is now available only to those who can pay?
“In recent years, parents and teachers have already lost in the struggle for education in all positions,” says Alena, mother of a 7th grade student from St. Petersburg. – We could not fight off, including from the Unified State Exam, from the introduction of low-quality textbooks instead of time-tested manuals, every year the quality of education decreases. If we keep quiet, then just as quietly in a few years we may face the fact that free classes will be held only at a distance, and we will have to pay for full-time classes. The maintenance of educational institutions is very expensive for the state, and the general retirement may well solve this problem. We see this threat as real, in this regard, we demand to legalize distance learning as one of the forms of education that can be used only at the request of parents or in the event of an emergency that applies to all schools, both public and private. Now we are faced with the fact that directors of educational institutions, in response to our complaints, declare that teaching with the use of distance learning technologies is equivalent to full-time. The teacher, on the other hand, conducts classes in real time, which, they say, you still need.
In the meantime, many children have already had health problems in online education. In addition, the distance has hurt the socialization of schoolchildren, and a prolonged lack of normal communication can turn into very long-term consequences for some children.
“Young people today have spent too much time in the virtual world even without remote control,” says another parent, Natalya. – Many teenagers no longer really go for a walk, but communicate with friends only on social networks. And this is a serious social problem that distance learning only exacerbates. My 9th-grader daughter has been studying online for a month now, the circle she went to does not work, as a result, it is no longer possible to drag her out even to the street to walk with the dog. But what can we say, even convincing to wear normal clothes instead of pajamas does not always work. Many children started having health problems in the spring: their eyesight falls, their head and back hurt, their sleep is disturbed, and some children have apathy and depression. So it turns out that the authorities, while fighting one threat, create another one for children, possibly even greater, the consequences of which we, parents, will have to clear up.
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