Serbian schools start second semester, teachers unhappy


Schools across Serbia started the second semester on Monday with some children attending classes and others staying at home for online school.

The Education Ministry said earlier that elementary and high schools would reopen using the same model for classes that was in place since September 1 which means that elementary school children in grades 1 to 4 will go to school every day in smaller groups while grades 5 to 8 will go to school every other day and online. High school students will either go to school one week and have online classes every other week or stay at home for online schooling to the end of the year. Classes will be 30 minutes long instead of the customary 45 and the school year will be five days longerr because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The start of the school year is not something that at least one of the teachers’ unions agrees with. Association of Teachers’ Unions leader Jasna Jankovic said that the second semester should have started online or the break should have been extended by a week to gather data on the number of school children and teachers who have been infected. In a statement to the Politika, Jankovic warned that classes have resumed without anyone knowing what the exact situation is today.

“Since September, there have been 11,000 teachers and other staff who were infected. It proved impossible to find replacements for the profiles of teachers who we have a shortage of in regularr circumstances,” she said and added that final exams can’t be held because there is no agreement on how. “The entire system failed… we are all to blame for this, primarily the education ministry since the year 2000,” she said.