|middle school students attending school. /News1 © News1 Photo Foundation|
While the Ministry of Education is pushing for all elementary, middle, and high schools in the second semester, a survey result showed that 78% of parents were in favor of expanding school attendance. On the other hand, only half of teachers and students responded positively.
The Ministry of Education announced on the 17th the results of the ‘Survey related to the expansion of school attendance in the second semester’ conducted on 1.65 million teachers, students, and parents nationwide. In the online survey conducted on the 3rd and 9th, 140,000 teachers, 560,000 elementary and 3rd grade students, and 950,000 parents participated.
As a result of the survey, 65.7% of the total respondents thought positively about the expansion of school attendance in the second semester. ‘Very positive’ was the most at 39.8%, and ‘positive’ was 25.9%. Only 18.5% answered ‘negative’ (including 9.8% very negative).
However, the differences among school members were quite large. Parents, 77.7% of the respondents positively evaluated the expansion of school attendance in the second semester. Nearly half answered ‘very positive’ (47.9%). Negative responses were only 9.5%. Among parents, the positive response of parents with children attending kindergartens and special schools was the highest at 82.9%. Elementary school parents (79.2%) also responded more positively than the average of all parents.
On the other hand, only half of the teachers answered positively with 52.4%. The ‘negative’ response was also 29.6%, which is almost 1 in 3 people. As for teachers, 64.5% of kindergarten and special school teachers answered positively. The positive response of elementary school teachers was also high at 58.5%.
Students answered positively with 49.7%, the lowest. The negative response was also high at 30.3%. 76.6% of elementary school students answered ‘positive’, but only 26.1% of high school students. 40.9% of middle school students were positive about the expansion of school attendance.
The noticeably lower positive responses of teachers compared to parents are interpreted as reflecting the teacher’s position, which is responsible for both classes and quarantine in the field. It can be seen that the risk of infection felt at school sites is greater than that of parents.
Shin Hyun-wook, head of policy at the Korea Federation of Teachers’ Associations, said, “Teachers are in a situation where they have to take responsibility for quarantine as well as classes.” The burden of going back to school is inevitably high,” he said.
Regarding the measures to strengthen school quarantine for the expansion of school attendance in the second semester, 59.7% of the total selected ‘vaccination of faculty and staff’ as the top priority (multiple responses are possible). It was followed by ‘complementing school quarantine guidelines’ at 45.4% and ‘improving food service management measures’ at 41.8%. Of the teachers, 70.8% chose ‘teaching staff vaccination’.
When it comes to the areas that schools need to provide intensive support after the expansion of school attendance, 60.4% of the total answered ‘complementing subject learning capabilities to resolve learning deficits’ (multiple responses possible). It was followed by ‘activation of student activities such as peer activities and support for off-campus experiential learning’ (49.6%) and ‘self.
Of the parents, 73.9% said that they wanted to solve the learning deficit, followed by ‘activation of student activities’ at 42.5%, ‘support for treatment of psychological and emotional deficits’ at 32.6%, and ‘support for special programs for the poor in education’ at 12.6%.
Also, 51.8% of teachers chose resolving learning deficits as their top priority. Unlike parents, teachers thought that support for psychological and emotional deficits (38.9%) was more necessary than activation of student activities (31.8%). Among students, ‘student activity activation’ was the most at 66.4%.
On the 20th, Deputy Prime Minister Yoo Eun-hye will personally announce specific plans for the second semester, including measures to strengthen quarantine, reflecting the opinions of the field.