Online Education

50% of Israeli youngsters say COVID has affected their schooling

About half of Israeli teenagers in middle and high school said the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted their school education, according to a survey released Thursday by the Ministry of Education.

The survey, conducted among approximately 560,000 students in grades 5-1 in more than 3,000 schools across the country, assessed the impact of the pandemic on learning and the atmosphere in schools from a pedagogical, social and emotional perspective over the last school year.

Students in the last two grades of high school reported the highest levels of negative impacts from the pandemic, while students in the lower grades were more likely to say they were not affected by changes caused by COVID-19 in schools, or they felt a positive impact.

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54% of 10th and 10th graders said the pandemic negatively impacted their studies, 46% said they suffered emotional damage, and 31% reported negative social impacts.

From 5th to 3rd grade, 47% said their studies were affected, 38% experienced a negative emotional impact, and 28% said their social life was affected.

From CM2 to 6e, 39% of students said their studies were positively impacted, compared to 33% who reported a negative impact; 35% reported an emotional improvement compared to 28% who said the pandemic had a negative emotional impact; finally, 41% said their social life had improved, versus 22% who said the situation had worsened.

Both the minister of education and education professionals consider the results “disturbing”.

“The results of the survey clearly reflect how the education system has felt after two difficult years of COVID,” said Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton.

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton at a press conference in Tel Aviv May 9, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Israeli schools have been, for the most part, open for most of the 2021-2022 school year, with varying online learning conditions, social distancing and mask-wearing requirements.

The Department of Education’s National Education Measurement and Evaluation Authority, known by its acronym RAMA, conducts this study every year, but it usually focuses on issues related to inclusion, violence, and teacher-student relationships.

Shasha-Biton noted that half a billion shekels was invested last year “to bridge the mostly emotional and social disruptions caused by the COVID crisis.”

“Schools as places of learning play an important role in shaping and nurturing the emotional and social aspects of students, which also has a direct impact on their academic performance. In this task, we are helped by the results of the survey, which allow us to target the necessary measures in the system,” she added.

Israeli high school students arrive at a high school in Ashdod, November 29, 2020 (Flash90)

Menashe Levy, president of the Association of Secondary School Principals, said the findings paint a horrific picture of schools that lack qualified staff to provide quality education or provide emotional support to students.

“The lack of standards in preschool and elementary schools, as well as low standards in secondary schools, indicate a critical shortage of counselors, assistants, psychologists, diagnosticians, learning difficulties specialists, speech therapists, inspectors, etc.,” he said. according to Inet.

“Add to this the lack of qualified teachers and you have a difficult situation where there is no one to take care of children in need of educational and emotional support,” he said, he adds.

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