State setting up €6-million school camps to cover COVID-19 education gaps

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Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform) on "Esimene stuudio". Source: ERR

Six million euros is being set aside for summer camps for schoolchildren, preparing them for the next academic year and ironing out deficiencies caused by long periods on remote learning. The money is budgeted as part of the recently approved supplementary budget, issued in response to the latest coronavirus wave.

As many as 50,000 or more children will be able to participate in summer camps via the funding, which will be doled out to local government.

Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform) told ERR that: "We know that there are children who are have proven unsuited to distance learning and who have gaps in their learning."

"We need to look more closely at how to close the gaps that distance learning has left in education within three to four years," Kersna went on, noting that these gaps exist in key subject areas.

Schools first went on remote learning during the original emergency situation the government declared just over a year ago, through to the academic year end. This wreaked havoc with school leaver and other exams, and a full return to in-class learning has not been forthcoming since then.

Shortly before Christmas, schools went on remote learning for older classes again, with this being a general requirement for all school children under the current restrictions issued earlier this month.'

The exact content and syllabuses offered at the camps is not yet clear, and will be both dependent on future restrictions and coronavirus spread, as well as on local authorities, an education ministry spokesperson told ERR:

Liina Kersna also said that schools themselves would have as much leeway as possible in designing courses and camps, while the details of how the money will be distributed is to be hammered out next week, at the ministry.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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