Ministry of Science and Education Republic of Croatia, March 2020. For the Ministry: minister prof. Blaženka Divjak, PhD
– We work in very challenging times but we need to ensure safety and the functioning of the education system. The situation as in Croatia, even more difficult, is in the EU as a whole as well as all over the world. From Monday on, at least 18 EU member states will have closed their schools and other institutions in the area of education and upbringing.
– A transition to the system of distance teaching and learning within only three weeks that includes preparations around the clock is extremely challenging, requires motivated work, responsibility and discipline of everyone involved but we are in it together and besides assuming responsibility we are aware that we will solve many problems as we go.
– Yesterday the Government has made the decision that there will be no teaching in schools, higher education institutions, and kindergartens (day care centres) will not be open in the regular working hours (Government Decision: https://vlada.gov.hr/sjednice/212telefonska-sjednica-vlade-republike-hrvatske/28985 ). The employees need to be at their work place within the range and time frame determined by the headmaster who is responsible for the good functioning of the school also in these changed circumstances. Employees need to be placed in empty classrooms according to subjects they teach.
– Our aim is to establish a functional distance learning system for all pupils/students by Wednesday.
– The Istrian County will start already on Monday and the others will establish the system on the school level by Wednesday. However, all the pupils from Monday on will follow teaching via HRT 3 (Croatian Radio Television Program 3, primary school, grades 1-4)) and Sports TV (all other pupils/students).
– All days from Monday on count as teaching days and are registered in the e-class book.
– With regard to the very challenging scaling of a distance learning system which is impossible to establish within a couple of weeks to work impeccably (it usually requires a couple of years), it is expected for all ways of teaching to have a back-up option.
– Additionally on online teaching systems: The systems are neither locally nor globally dimensioned for such a load, so they work slowly and at times with pauses. We kindly ask for your patience and understanding. We recommend that different schools choose different systems for teaching – above all for global services like Microsoft O365, MS Teams, MS Yammer or gSuite for Education, Google Classroom, Google Hangouts and similar. Local services such as Loomens, that tolerate much less charge, are at your disposal. By them resources will be uploaded and schools will be instructed when it is advisable for the continuity of the service to switch to another service.
– Following all the aforementioned, all communication (virtual room for headmasters, virtual assembly hall for teachers and virtual classrooms) needs to have a back-up if it comes to technical difficulties with regard to the fact that there are more than half a million students and teachers teaching and learning online. Therefore, if it comes to ruptures of the system, all communication will go via e-mail, of the Ministry of Science and Education with the headmasters as well as the headmasters with the teachers and the headroom teachers with the students. (Even this address of mine has this transcript that I have prepared in a rough version and in an understandable written form.)
– The students need to carry out the activities in virtual classrooms, but it should not be insisted that they do it in real time (synchronously), but during the day because they have difficulties accessing the Internet or they share their device with their brothers and sisters. So any time in the course of the day is acceptable for the students to fulfil their tasks.
– Teachers need to follow the activities of the students, give them assignments, encourage them to work and gather them in virtual classrooms. It is necessary that students, as much as possible, get feedback on their work and progress (evaluation as learning, evaluation for learning). During the next two weeks, there is no grading (evaluation of learning outcomes).
– Warn your students of appropriate forms of behaviour in virtual environment, i.e. that similar rules of appropriate behaviour and interaction apply as in the classroom, meaning that for inappropriate behaviour students can bear consequences.
– You have received instructions how to distribute equipment (tablets, laptops, SIM cards etc.) to students and teachers. In case anything is missing for students from low income families, let us know and we will deal with it.
– Regarding devices, send us requests according to priorities: students who have neither Internet access nor device at home are a priority; students who have Internet certainly possess in their household some kind of device so they can follow the teaching over a cell phone.
– We invite institutions for children with difficulties to suggest solutions for their students since they need individualized approach, and the Ministry of Science and Education will do everything to help them.
– From the middle of the week on, HRT 3 program will be translated into the sign language, and we will give our best to equip all video materials with subtitles.
– On Monday, all primary school students and last grade secondary school students will have the possibility to follow the teaching on television.
– Lower primary school (grades 1-4) on HRT 3 School on the Third
– Upper primary school (grades 5-8) and last grade secondary school students on Sports TV
– Secondary school students (grades 1-3) will not follow the TV program, but will have materials online and in virtual classrooms.
– The Istrian County had two days more for the preparation, they have tested everything; so the Istrian County will be the first to establish functional online teaching on Monday.
– All the other schools have a deadline on Monday at 12:00 o’clock for establishing communication channels, on Monday headroom teachers need to test the virtual classrooms, on Tuesday subject teachers test their virtual classrooms, and from Wednesday on virtual classroom teaching begins for all schools.
– The Ministry of Science and Education will deliver the basic schedule for the whole of Croatia for all teachers who do not have their online lessons ready.
– If a teacher has his/her online lessons ready, his/her students do not have to follow the content delivered by the Ministry, but the subject teacher delivers the content and activities in the virtual classroom and this must be clearly pointed out on the school web site.
– We invite all teachers to record the content and to send us their successful 15 minutes video lessons to: [email protected] since we will enable others to use them. We need over 300 video lessons per week.
– Thanks to colleagues Toni Milun and Dejan Nemčić who will provide their video materials. Thanks to the publishers who have allowed us free access to digital textbooks. Thanks to telecommunications providers and IT companies.
– We kindly ask teachers not to use the possibility of interactive videoconference in real time in order not to overload the system. We recommend to use previously recorded video lessons which are stored on one of the global services such as YouTube. Recordings prepared by the Ministry should be used by giving links to the students and not by downloading on the computer or transferring to other services since in this way distance learning systems are unnecessarily overloaded.
– The Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education has started a web portal for virtual teaching. The portal can be accessed over the link: nastava.asoo.hr. From Monday, 16th March 2020 on, content in digital form for online teaching for vocational schools in all 13 vocational educational sectors will be published.
|DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION Primary school||Istrian County||Republic of Croatia
|Pupils who are at school|
|Pupils||Follow the School on the Third from Monday on.||Follow the School on the Third from Monday on.||At school, there will be no teaching, and they will follow the School on the Third if their grade is scheduled while they are at school, otherwise at home.|
|Teachers||Notify the parents beforehand (Sunday) when their grade is scheduled for broadcasting.||Notify the parents beforehand (Sunday) when their grade is scheduled for broadcasting.||If the broadcasting schedule of the School on the Third coincides with their stay at school, make sure that the children watch, otherwise activities as during extended stay.|
|Send the parents exercise material on a daily basis.||Send the parents exercise material from Wednesday on.|
|Parents||Follow teachers‘ instructions. All materials from the School on the Third will be accessible on demand and on YouTube.||Only the parents who do not have the possibility to leave their child under supervision at home leave their child at school (similar as during strike).|