COVID-19 School Dilemma Troubles Balkan, Central Europe Govts

High-school students wait in line to register for the upcoming school year in Skopje, North Macedonia, June 16, 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE/GEORGI LICOVSKI

The variety of approaches on offer includes shorter lessons, fewer students in classrooms, alternative periods of online and onsite teaching or combinations of these and other solutions.

Western Balkans still undecided what to do

Serbia is one country that has still not decided on the teaching model for the next school year, as the government and its Crisis Staff consider different models proposed by the Education Ministry, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told a news conference on Wednesday.

But Brnabic said that everyone would work in the same way. "What I strive for is to give clear criteria according to which schools will decide how to work. Let's not leave it to the school administration to decide for itself, but to give clear criteria," she said.

One proposal, she said, is to send pupils from first to fourth grades of elementary school back to classw in groups no larger than 15, with classes lasting 30 to 35 minutes and with 20-minute breaks to disinfect them.

Education Minister Mladen Sarcevic told Blic newspaper in early July that the ministry was thinking about a "combined model", which "means that students would have online classes, but also come to school every other week, to do exercises".

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the two entities, Republika Srpska and the Federation, and the Federation's 10 cantons, have said will come up with a plan by the middle of this month, after consultations with epidemiologists, teachers, unions and parents, following a steep rise in the number of COVID cases in the last six weeks.

The three widely discussed options are a...

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