BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – A pandemic-generation has been born. Children, pupils and teenagers will soon feel the consequences of their quickly changing lifestyle, not to mention the transition from traditional education to online teaching.
While Hungary’s Ministry of Human Resources prefers to highlight last year’s apparently positive figures, in reality, we have exhausted students, teachers and parents alike, forced to assist their kids’ development while working from home at the same time. And teachers tended to give much better grades to students out of sheer generosity and in the sentiment of solidarity. This led to an improvement in the statistics and an unintentionally misleading grading system that didn’t reflect the actual facts or progress made by students.
After two waves of the pandemic, as cases surged, high-schools and universities went online in November 2020, and have been working this way since then.
Here are some ideas that educators tend to emphasise about the present and future of the pandemic-generation:
- there’s a gradual ‘dumbing down’ of performance. Kids and teenagers are less active in the online classroom, and it’s not easy to get them interested;
- the testing system had to be changed as well, even though there hasn’t been any evidence of a surge in cheating practices among students;
- reflecting on and talking about the current situation is essential, and that online education is the trial period to test and examine what they have achieved with their students so far;
- the question of end-of-high-school exams is an extremely delicate and stressful one, as teachers have no idea how to prepare the students;
- this new “pandemic generation” is children who know more precisely what they want than their predecessors;
- despite the seemingly good grades of last year and the special efforts of the few alternative schools operating mainly in the capital Budapest, many marginalized and poor students, living in remote villages have been – and will continue to be – hit hard by the side-effects of the pandemic;
- not all pupils are ready to work independently: there are a number of children who lack the basic skills and knowledge to catch up.