The Covid-19 crisis escalated fast, both globally and in Estonia. On 16 March, the government closed all education institutions, except kindergartens. For the 24 000 VET students, 2 100 VET teachers and 32 VET schools in Estonia, it meant an abrupt transition to distance learning.
Latvia declared a state of emergency on 12 March (Cabinet Order No. 103 Regarding Declaration of Emergency Situation). All vocational education and training schools were closed for on-site studies as of 13 March, teaching and learning being carried out remotely, including adult education.
A moderate experience of the Covid-19 pandemic in Slovakia is attributed to rapid and drastic measures aimed at social distancing.
Carry on as much as possible, adapt where necessary: this was the intuitive response to the Covid-19 outbreak in Dutch VET. However, on 15 March 2020, the Government decided to close all schools for primary and secondary general and vocational education with immediate effect. The question was how to balance between business as usual and preventing the spreading of Covid-19? Should we use this crisis as an opportunity to reinvent VET?
Since the Coronavirus crisis unfolded the further education and training (FET) sector () (where most VET in Ireland occurs) has been identifying good practice, issues and solutions to ensure the continuation of teaching and learning and to support the public health service.
The fact that Iceland is an island State with only one major point of entry from abroad, has a very small population and undertook measures of social distancing and a comprehensive testing strategy all led to low infection and fatality rates.
At the beginning of March 2020, the first cases of Covid-19 were reported in Poland. A significant number of measures to prevent and combat Covid-19 were introduced in different policy areas including education. The provision of education was changed, and new forms of teaching and learning were introduced.
On 18 March, the President of the Republic signed a Decree declaring a state of emergency, lasting 15 days; it was renewed twice and ended on 3 May. Considering the need to reduce the risk of contagion and implement measures to prevent and combat the Covid-19 epidemic, this legislative act partially suspended the exercise of certain rights, including the right to move around the national territory.
School closures and short-time work in companies as part of the measures to combat the corona pandemic also affect vocational education and training (VET). Even though schools have been gradually reopening since the beginning of May 2020 and apprenticeship-leave examinations are taking place again, the coming summer and autumn have further challenges in store.
Cedefop’s ambassadors for tackling early leaving from education and training call for further support to address the needs of learners at risk and ensure their equal access to quality distance learning.