The Covid-19 pandemic touched Luxembourg on multiple levels. The measures taken to reduce the risk of infection by the virus include a temporary suspension of educational activities in school premises. As from 16 March, all educational activities were interrupted
The Luxembourgish parliament adopted a law regulating the exceptional situation of the Covid-19 crisis, on 18 March 2020, limiting personal displacements and many economic activities. This law is constantly being adapted to the evolution of the crisis and since 20 April economic activities are resuming step by step. The Government has communicated on the protection gestures and measures against Covid-19 through a website and by disseminating flyers in schools and other places since end of February 2020.
National education during the interruption
A system of distance learning and coaching has been set up to ensure the continuity of learning during the weeks of interruption. Learners are provided with a work plan and learning situations by their teachers. Distance education focuses on the essential content needed to enable learners to progress. Practical teaching can also be provided through distance learning using digital tools wherever possible. Before the Easter holidays, emphasis was on the revision and deepening of content; afterwards the teaching of new subjects was more focused to ensure good progress by learners. To support the different stakeholders, the following measures were put in place:
- the website offers pedagogical resources and online tools for teachers, learners, and parents in five languages (LU, FR, DE, PT, EN). The website is regularly updated with new material and accessible to the public;
- a Webinar was held to support VET teachers to develop knowledge on distance learning for practical courses. This interactive online event was offered in cooperation with several stakeholders: the VET directorate of the Education Ministry, the National Institute for Research in Pedagogical Innovation (SCRIPT) and the Training Institute of National Education (IFEN) ;
- a contest on Instagram #Fopro2020 My profession, my talent! was organised for VET learners by the Education Ministry. As part of the Schouldoheem.lu initiative, , learners are asked to produce a five-minute video showing themselves doing a specific project and explaining step by step what they do and which competences and learning outcomes they apply;
- a special procedure was implemented allowing identification of learners isolated at home and not participating in distance education. In cases where it proves impossible to establish or maintain remote contact with these pupils or their parents, psycho-socio-educational professionals have provided those concerned with prompt assistance in the school premises since 20 April 2020. An e-learning support service is also offered through a helpline. Once learners return to school, additional resources will be allocated to schools enabling them to provide support to students who need it, during or outside school hours.
Survey of teachers and parents
15 days after the school interruption, the Ministry launched a survey of teachers and parents to get information on the way they were handling distance learning. The results reveal that most teachers and parents adapted easily to distance learning. The survey was also the opportunity to collect 7 000 remarks and suggestions for improvement.
Suspension of internships and apprenticeships
For graduating learners, dispensation has been granted for all internship modules that cannot be evaluated. For all other classes, learners are also granted dispensation for all internship modules that should have been completed between 16 March 2020 and the end of the school year.
Dispensation is also granted for apprentices, though those from the health and personal care sector doing an apprenticeship as nursing assistant and care assistant can volunteer to support professionals in the personal care sector. In this case, they are freed from distance learning. Companies of this sector that want to use, on a voluntary basis, apprentices of legal age from other curricula (such as qualified computer scientist or logistics manager), must first seek approval from the Health Directorate.
Apprentices continue to receive their allowances and, where necessary, they are eligible for partial unemployment benefits.
Resumption of school activities in IVET programmes
Graduation classes for IVET and technical and general secondary education programmes resumed on the 4 May 2020; other classes followed on 11 May 2020. The resumption took place according to a weekly alternating schedule until the end of the school year; this makes it possible to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning while reducing the number of pupils simultaneously present in school buildings by 50%. Social distancing measures can be respected within school grounds and on school transport to minimise the spread of the virus. All learners must wear a face mask when entering the school premises or school transport.
Apprentices were allowed to return to their training place in the sectors where deconfinement has been decided on provided that their health and safety is guaranteed and that their practical training can be properly provided by the training company. According to Article L.313-1 of the Labour Code, employers must provide appropriate protective measures. A grand-ducal regulation of 17 April 2020 introduces specific measures to be taken by employers to guarantee security and protection of employees.
For learners seeking an apprenticeship contract, the deadline to sign the contract - initially set at 31 October- will be extended.
Assessment of the school year 2019/20
The aim is to validate the 2019/20 school year so that learners and apprentices can progress to the next year or graduate. The evaluation methods are adapted to the constraints of the current situation. After courses resume, each module will be evaluated wherever possible. At the end of the year, different possibilities will be implemented to help learners succeed:
- VET graduating classes will continue until the dates on which the respective final integrated projects (projets intégrés finaux, PIF) take place in the different training programmes;
- employer training modules taken by apprentices during the second semester will not be assessed;
- the duration of the final and intermediate integrated project will be adapted, and their content will be limited to the subjects studied until the end of the first semester of the 2019/20 school year. The commissioners in charge of the final integrated project which are generally organised in the form of modules during the year, will communicate the modalities as soon as possible to the secondary schools concerned;
- courses and examinations for the master craftsman qualification are postponed.
The guidelines for the conclusion of the 2019/20 academic year and the organisation of the spring and autumn 2020 examination sessions have been decided by the VET directorate of the Ministry of National Education and the Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts. The Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts will draw up a detailed schedule which will be communicated to the interested parties (candidates, lecturers, and members of the examination commissions) as soon as possible.
- Le government du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (2020). Official notice of the government to the parents of children in Secondary Schools: Luxembourg, March 12th, 2020.
- Resumption of activities in schools and childcare facilities : Questions and Answers