The Covid-19 outbreak has had a huge impact on the Norwegian economy, working life and, not least, the education sector. The pandemic has completely changed the everyday lives of teachers, students and apprentices.
All activities requiring the physical presence of students in schools were suspended in all pre-university level schools, including vocational education and training (VET) from 11 March.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Croatian healthcare system faced a global shortage of medical supplies such as gloves, masks and disinfectants that protect healthcare workers against infection with SARS-CoV-2. In March 2020, numerous VET providers engaged with this shortage in a bottom-up initiative to produce face shields through 3D technology.
The Finnish Government decided on 30 March that restrictions on contact teaching at different levels of education would be continued until 13 May. Teaching continued mainly in the form of distance learning. Later, the Government updated the restrictions so that contact teaching could restart at all levels of education as of 14 May. However, it recommended that distance learning should continue until the end of the school year for all other than basic education. Nordic countries are closely following each other’s actions in meeting the challenge of Covid-19.
On 11 March the Danish government decided that all public institutions, including all education establishments, should be closed to physical attendance from 16 March.
Following the declaration of a state of emergency, the physical presence of students in basic, upper secondary and tertiary professional schools was prohibited by the Resolution of the Czech Government of 12 March 2020. The state of emergency was declared for 30 days and subsequently extended until 17 May 2020. From 12 March 2020 until the end of the school year, 30 June 2020, online forms of learning have been used.
On 1 January 2020, Czechia introduced changes to its system of regional education funding. The main modification is that school funding is no longer based on the number of students (per capita approach) but the real volume of teaching (the number of lessons taught), with financial resources allocated according to teacher salary amounts.
Measures were taken by the Italian Government in response to the coronavirus threat. On 4 March, the government closed all schools, training centres and universities nationwide (by Decree of the Prime Minister) after consultation with social partners and local authorities and taking into account the opinion of the scientific-technical committee, established by the government. Schools (including VET) closure continued during the entire lockdown period.
Greece has met the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic efficiently. Authorities have not only taken all the necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus, but they have also excelled in superb communication management since day one, building social trust and persuading citizens to embrace the imposed measures.
Covid-19 affected the national education and training sector. International mobility programmes were suspended and, as of 16 March, the education process continued digitally, with remote learning, homework and assessment.
The National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development, with the support of the Ministry of Education and Research, is expanding initial dual vocational education and training (VET) in response to employer demand.
In Мay 2020 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) announced its findings on the financial literacy of 15-year-olds who participated in the Programme for international student assessment (PISA) 2018. This is the world’s most comprehensive and reliable indicator of quality in education policies.
From 16 March 2020, Croatian learners at all levels of education, including VET and adult education, are being taught in virtual classes in their homes, as per government decision and guidelines from the Ministry of Science and Education. Three weeks after the first registered case of the Covid-19 virus in Croatia, and upon the declaration of a national epidemic, the education community in Croatia organised virtual teaching in only five days.
Cedefop has published a collection of articles on long-term international mobility of apprentices in Europe, in cooperation with its ReferNet network.
The results of a 2019 evaluation of the quality of e-learning training can help shape future design. This is especially useful in these pandemic times.
In order to counter the Covid-19 emergency, the Government of Cyprus decided to suspend the in-school operation of all public and private schools at all levels on 11 March 2020. The decisions are valid for both general and VET: no VET-specific measures have been taken. Within a few days after school closure, teachers (except those in vulnerable groups) were recalled to schools to create their school specific action plan for distance synchronous and asynchronous learning options. Teachers worked mainly from home using online tools; they were present at the school only when necessary and according to government instructions for the safe operation of all public and private organisations.
The state of emergency in Bulgaria, declared by a decision of the National Assembly, started on 13 March, 2020. All schools in the country, including all VET schools, were closed and on 16 March switched to distance learning. This quick change was made possible by the efforts of teachers, the support of parents and the enthusiasm and curiosity of learners. The education ministry supported schools depending on their needs and monitored training provision. In just a few days, more than 90% of schools successfully applied digital technologies. Learners with no internet access or adequate equipment were provided with printed material and supported by education mediators.
The new European skills agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience, presented by the European Commission on 1 July, sets ambitious, quantitative objectives for upskilling (improving existing skills) and reskilling (training in new skills) in the next five years.
The post-2020 European policy framework on vocational education and training (VET) was discussed at the high-level joint Cedefop/ETF virtual conference ‘Enhancing European cooperation in VET: looking back – planning ahead’, on 30 June and 1 July.
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