MINISTER SELÇUK EXPLAINS FACE TO FACE EDUCATION WHICH IS SET TO BEGIN ON SEPTEMBER 21 DURING A LIVE TV PROGRAM"Minister of National Education Ziya Selçuk made comments concerning current issues and answered questions during a live "Memleket Meselesi" television program aired on the A Haber TV channel."
Minister Selçuk explained the details and preparations concerning face to face education which is set to begin on September 21.
Answering a question if he would send his child to school during the pandemic, Minister Selçuk said this issue is not only a family matter but it is also a social and global subject and he would always prefer to make a decision based on data.
Stating that it is very natural for parents to have some concerns, Selçuk underlined the fact that due to this reason the Ministry has limited face to face education of preschool and first grade students with only two days in order to safeguard the required conditions, reduce risks to a minimum level and keep health and hygiene conditions under control at schools.
When he was reminded that Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca formulized face to face education at schools as "2 plus 5 days" after a Science Board meeting, Minister Selçuk said that his Ministry pays attention to the suggestions of the Science Board and takes decisions by consensus.
Mentioning the reasons of this decision, Selçuk stated, "When a student goes to school for two days and stays home for the rest of the week, any symptoms that may be observed in the health condition of the school bus driver, teachers and other school staff will be monitored in the next 5 days. Due to this reason, we will stick to the 2 plus 5 days formula. If conditions change, we may change this formula."
Minister Selçuk stressed that the Ministry does not want to put pressure on parents as this is not only an academic decision but it also has psychological and sociological aspects adding that it is important to build confidence among parents.
"Our schools are among the most secure public places"
Minister Selçuk said that the Ministry has informed parents about measures taken at schools and organized meetings with parents and approximately 60 thousand first grade teachers have been employed in state schools and stressed that almost all European countries have opened the doors of schools for all students.
"Our schools are among most secure public places. We have constant control over schools, we keep track of disinfection activities," said Selçuk and stressed that his ministry had consulted health experts before deciding to open schools.
"We want half of the students to attend classes on Monday-Tuesday"
Answering a question about the details of 2 plus 5 formula, Minister Selçuk stated, "In principle, we want half of the students to attend classes on Monday-Tuesday. Let's say we have two groups such as group red and group blue. Group red may come to school on Monday and Tuesday. Group blue may come to school on Thursday and Friday. There will be breaks on Wednesday and on the weekend. We have to divide the classes into two groups in order to maintain social distancing.
Minister Selçuk said that students will sit alone in two student desks in order to maintain social distancing in the classrooms adding that number of students in the classrooms will decrease as some parents may decide not send their children to schools.
Answering a question about "parent consent" which should be signed by parents who would sent their children to school, Minister Selçuk said there are some erronous comments about this consent and this certainly does not aim at holding the parent responsible. It is just an approval form showing that parents are informed about the measures taken by the Ministry.
The Ministry will be informed about positive cases immediately via the HES trace system
Minister Selçuk went on to say, "the HES trace system provides instant information about Covid-19 positive patients to our Ministry. We have established such a system and it is a joint project between the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Health. If there is a positive patient among the parents of a student, we take immediate measure at the classroom and the teacher of the child in question and his classmates immediately begin distance education. When we detect a Covid-19 positive student, we will take him or her to a special room and inform his parents and health institutions immediately."
Selçuk reminded that parents who do not want their children to go to school will still have distance education option and they should also sign related forms. Answering a question about undecided parents, Selçuk stated, "My suggestion for them is to prefer face to face education. These students are at their crucial ages that we named as the "receiver age." Due to this reason, they have to receive face to face education. When preschool students did not go to school, they suffered problems regarding basic concepts."
Selçuk said that two days at school may not be enough for first grade students but the Ministry will give support to parents and students during the remaining days of the week and underlined the importance of establishment bonds among students, teachers and the school.
"Our goal is to introduce school environment to first grade students even for two days a week and establish emotional bonds and socialization. Our goals are not only academic. It is hard to establish a bond with a teacher that students meet on the screen," stated Selçuk.
"Decision about other grade students will be assessed within a few weeks"
Minister of National Education also answered questions about when other grade students will start face to face education. He said, "We will make assessments about them within a few weeks. We do not have a schedule as we may not know what will be the number of coronavirus patients during this period. We are under a great responsibility and we have to be very careful. Our goal and wish is to open all schools."
Selçuk stressed that his Ministry will consider the suggestions of Science Board and regional directorates of health before making decisions.
"Students will enter LGS and YKS exams at their own schools"
Answering a question about 8th and 12th grade students who would enter transition to higher education institutions exams, Minister Selçuk said, "We will make official an statement later but these students will enter exams at their own schools".
"We have to conduct other exams based on the appointment system. All students cannot come to school on the same day. Let's say 7th grade students are supposed to enter an exam. They will take the exam on different days and schools will make this arrangement."
Minister Selçuk stated that central High School Entrance System (LGS) exam will take place in June and arrangements concerning this exam will be made according to the conditions of that period.