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(NW) Survey: 71.2% of Teachers Support Distance Learning in Secondary School, 65.8% in Fifth to Seventh Grades

November 2 (BTA) – According to a survey published by the Education Trade Union with the Podkrepa Confederation of Labour on Monday, 71.2 per cent of teachers support and 28.8 per cent oppose the recently introduced distance learning in secondary schools across Bulgaria, and 65.8 per cent would support the transition of fifth- to seventh-graders to distance learning, the trade union said. The survey looks into pedagogy specialists’ attitudes towards a possible switch to distance learning of all schools in Bulgaria over the spread of COVID-19. A total of 6,100 pedagogy specialists took part in the survey conducted within four days. According to the Education Trade Union, the Bulgarian school is the safest environment possible, but is persistently being used with political purposes so as to convince people how dangerous educational institutions are. “Of course, this does not correspond to the truth, just like Health Minister Angelov’s promises about free PCR tests for teachers and pupils at the Regional Health Inspectorate’s expense did not come true,” the trade union commented. At present, there are 671 infected teachers, but this number does not include teachers quarantined over a positive PCR test result of a family member or over their quarantined child. “Some teachers are already going on paid leave due to the national COVID-19 task force’s aggressive campaign that a new apocalypse awaits us,” the trade union said. The educational institutions’ leaderships are experiencing significant difficulties in providing substitute teachers even when only 10 per cent of teachers are ill, therefore distance learning is the only way out, the trade union also said. A transition to distance learning for primary schools is opposed by 53.1 per cent and supported by 46.9 per cent of the respondents. Similarly, 56.5 per cent oppose such a transition for kindergartens. According to 69.9 per cent, universities should switch to distance learning. The workload of Bulgarian teachers due to them substituting absent colleagues at their school leads to an increase of the burnout effect to the critical 70 per cent, the trade union said, adding that the quality of education and the preservation of teachers and school principals are at risk. The problems with the lack of digital resources for the pedagogues’ work remain. For now, the Ministry of Education and Science provides resources for laptops for slightly over 2 per cent of Bulgarian teachers, the trade union also said. RI/DS /ДЛ/