Sunday, May 19, 2024

Is there a solution for the education without an idea?

The weighty bell on the first day of school. Some of the first-graders received admission and two or three warm words from their teachers, while the others did some photos between empty desks and chairs. This generation of first-graders from the first day in the world of knowledge got a picture of the reality in what kind of society they would grow up – divided, confused, unjust and uncertain.

Author: Katerina Topalova

Unsatisfied from the first day of school are also teachers who demand higher salaries and parents whose first graders were without a performance and authorities whose promises of a monthly raise were not enough to reassure educators.

Education is one of the carrier pillars of a healthy society. Recently, I did a research and compared our system with the system in Denmark. They are not the best, but they are among the best. What do we miss to be Denmark in education?

In Denmark, the profession teacher is one of the most respected. That is why the selection of students who can enroll in a Pedagogical Faculty is strict. Studies are with a lot of theory as well as with lots of practice. Love towards children and patience are primary.

Classes last 45 minutes. The 12-year-old pupils presented a project in front of three professors, who were a commission for working in a factory, in order to get a job. They had prepared a CV, a motivation letter, answered questions and talked about their skills. At this age, they are already learning about adulthood and the early stage of becoming competitive in the labor market. At the age of 16, each of them can start a job and finish school, can do simultaneously both of them, can only learn, the choice is individual. For those who do both working and studying, at the age of 25 when they graduate, they have a CV with 10 years of work experience and employer recommendations.

Children of that age are the same all over the world. Rebellious, curious and restless. At no point did the teacher raise his tone to any of them, but there were many warnings – with a look, a word or a conversation. There was no need for more than one sentence to get the situation back to normal.

There are children with disabilities in each class. They work with an assistant to help them master the program. Every two months the class teacher meets with their parents, twice as often as the parents of the other children. Together they track the progress. If the child is happy in the environment and manages to get closer and accept the content – then he stays in that school. Most often, in such cases, children over a few years overcome the disability and become the same as their peers. However, there are some who can’t fit in, so when parents and teachers realize they are not happy in that environment, they decide to move them to special schools.

Student concentration often falls. The teacher has complete freedom to decide whether stop teaching and give them 10 minutes break in the schoolyard. He leaves them running, going crazy; playing … he is an observer just in case they do not fall in danger. They say that this “measure” has a very positive outcome because in the rest of the class the children are ready to “absorb” the contents. As students rest, teachers rest as well. Between classes or during free time, they have conditions for school sports, listening to music, reading a book. In Denmark, there is a rule- Satisfied teacher-good student!

Nevertheless, even there are dissatisfactions. During my time in Copenhagen, there were discussions between the Minister of Education and the Trade Union of Education Workers. The Government wanted to increase the number of classes in one day; teachers warned that it would be counterproductive for both them and the students. Than the Ministry gave commitment to do a research and to review with the union about all the benefits and losses.

Denmark in 2017 had the highest average salary of all EU countries – 3,095 euros, which means that teacher salaries are 185% of the average. In our country, the average salary in 2017 was 23,850, which means that the wage is 95% of the average amount.

In Macedonian education, money is not the first problem. The problem is the absence of ideas of what do we want to do! We set a hundred priorities.

The autonomy in primary education is one of the main concepts in the Scandinavian countries. The more number of teachers who work with their children – the higher the quality. In these two decades, we have learned everything we need to do; only now we need to organize and implement it. We destroyed education by giving a huge freedom to centers, the state exam center, the vocational training center, and somehow we lost them from the system. We produce illiterate generations, we hire party teachers, we get lost in the curriculum, and most importantly – instead of respecting the system, we look for the opportunity to play it.

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