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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Υπ. Education: "18 Questions and Answers" for the new school

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The Ministry of Education answers a series of questions regarding the bill "upgrading the school and empowering teachers" that is being discussed tomorrow, Tuesday, in the Parliamentary Committee on Educational Affairs.

The questions, 18 in number, start from the general regulations and reach to the evaluation of the teachers and the higher ecclesiastical education.

1) What are the most important regulations of the Bill for the Upgrading of the School and the Empowerment of the Teachers:

Freedom - School autonomy:

Free choice of book in schools (multiple book)

We move from mechanistic learning to critical analysis and thinking

Autonomy in the form of 4-month evaluation tests

We release the creative initiative of our teachers

We strengthen the role of teachers in positions of responsibility (in-school coordinators, mentors, those responsible for organizing and coordinating apprenticeships at ENEGYL)

We invest in our teachers and strengthen them

Approval of educational programs and collaborations by the school itself

We trust our teachers - We decentralize the system

Greek PISA: Evaluation of the effectiveness of the educational system in students of XNUMXth Elementary and XNUMXrd Gymnasium

We create a new, independent tool for capturing the quality of educational work and its continuous upgrade

Evaluation of teachers and staff:

Teacher evaluation and emphasis on training

We empower teachers, in order to continuously improve them

Evaluation of the effectiveness of training executives

We evaluate the quality of the administration

Ecclesiastical Education:

Public Clergy only with a degree from the School of Clerical Apprenticeship or from a University

We are upgrading the level of education of the clergy

Merger of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Academies from 4 to 2

Better prospects for our young people, rationalization of the Academic Map of the country.

2) What is the basic philosophy of the bill?

The aim of the bill is to create an even better school for our children, which provides all the necessary supplies for their present and future, and to release the capacity of our teachers, in a context of greater freedom, continuous support and increased accountability.

Our proposal consists of 3 interconnected pillars:

Strengthening the autonomy of school units.
Establishing a mechanism for evaluating the work of teachers as a mechanism for improving and empowering teachers.
The strengthening of educational structures as critical pillars for the effective pedagogical support of the autonomous school.

In addition, we are introducing for the first time an organized system of ecclesiastical education with the aim of upgrading the educational level of the clergy, under the supervision of the State, and continuing to rationalize the academic map of the country.

a) Autonomy:

3) Why is the autonomy of school units strengthened and how?

Why: At the heart of the autonomy project is the greatest trust in teachers. According to the OECD (2016), enhancing autonomy is directly linked to improving the quality of education, as well as higher student performance. Greece has the lowest rate of autonomy among all OECD countries, with over 80% of decisions taken at central level (OECD average: 35%).

How: In practice, the autonomy of school units is strengthened in three areas:

We show confidence in our teachers, giving more freedom to the organization of teaching, through e.g. the introduction of the free choice of book by the teachers, the greater flexibility in the way of conducting the four-month evaluation tests (group / individual work, methods and characteristics of inverted class, instead of an hourly competition), the possibility of creating groups.
The role of the Principal of the school unit is strengthened, so that he can take those decisions that will make the school more autonomous, but also the role of teachers in positions of responsibility.
A framework of increased transparency and accountability is being formed, because enhanced autonomy also requires a framework of controls and balances. In this spirit, the "Greek PISA" and the obligation to create and maintain an accessible website in each school unit are introduced, among others.

4) What is a multiple book? Will every teacher be able to choose any book he wants?

The multiple book allows teachers to choose the book they want, among the approved books of the Institute of Educational Policy (IEP). At the same time, students and teachers will have access to the rest of the approved textbooks in digital format, as well as rich supplementary digital educational material. The free choice of book and the multiple sources mark a real paradigm shift in the way children learn in school, moving away from the model of memorization, enhancing students' critical thinking and forming an independent opinion. Greece and Cyprus are the minority of EU countries that maintain the monopoly of a single textbook.

5) What changes take place in the four-month evaluation tests and where are they intended?

Two important sections are foreseen in the evaluation of students' performance:

The teacher will now be able to choose the form of the four-month student assessment test, e.g. assign some synthetic or interdisciplinary work, a group presentation or utilize the methods / features of the flipped classroom, where e.g. the student himself is invited to present the lesson of the day or to suggest ways of solving problems. A step is taken in the creative initiative of the teacher, the lesson becomes more interesting, adapted to the needs of each class.
The philosophy of the "test" material is also changing. The book-centric model of memorization is replaced by the knowledge-centric model of the multiple book. The multiple book aims to cultivate critical thinking and the essential acquisition of knowledge and skills.

6) How is confidence in teachers strengthened, with greater degrees of freedom in the organization of teaching?

Among others, in the following ways:

Free choice of book
Autonomy in the form of 4-month evaluation tests (eg individual / group work, flipped classroom, instead of the only option the hourly competition) & finally the over-regulation of other intermediate tests (eg the number and duration of other tests)
Decentralization of the process of conducting educational activities and programs - today the approval of the Ministry is required. Education
Possibility of organizing educational groups (heads of educational groups)
Simplification of the process of conducting research and internships within the school units

7) What does it mean in practice to strengthen the role of the Director and teachers in positions of responsibility?

The Principal acquires those responsibilities that allow him to serve the autonomous school, while now he is called to play an important role in shaping school life. Specifically, it is provided:

Establishment of supportive bodies - distributed leadership model

Deputy Directors (selection upon the recommendation of the Director)
In-School Coordinators
Mentors
Responsible for liaison with the apprenticeship in ENEEGYL

Organization of annual trainings
Principal as an evaluator of his teachers - course observations
Responsibility for organizing pedagogical meetings
Responsibility for exercising disciplinary control
Possibility of utilizing school facilities outside school hours
Ability to secure additional resources through the organization of events & the easier acceptance of donations and sponsorships
Increase of term of office from 3 years to 4 years and possibility of reappointment without limit of 2 terms.

8) What is the purpose of the possibility of utilizing school facilities?

One of the freedoms given to schools is the greater possibility of utilizing school facilities after the end of the program schedule, for the organization of school events or other programs aimed at the educational community. Now, it is proposed that the decision of the organization be taken by the School Council, in which representatives of the School and the Municipality also participate. In the event that a school event, such as a theatrical performance, generates revenue, it is envisaged that this revenue can be used by the school unit that organized the event. This clearly does not in any way affect the amount of regular school grants. The only thing that changes is that the schools gain more freedom in their ability to organize events in their space, and if they wish, to set a ticket.

9) What is the purpose of diagnostic examinations at national level in the XNUMXth Elementary and XNUMXrd High School (Greek PISA)?

This is a diagnostic test of the effectiveness of the education system. The purpose of the Greek PISA is to draw conclusions about the course of implementation of the curricula - not the evaluation of student performance. The results, after all, will be anonymous, so they are not taken into account by teachers when evaluating student performance. The conduct of diagnostic evaluation tests of the education system is increasing in the OECD countries - e.g. in Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom.

10) In what ways is inclusive education enhanced?

The bill promotes inclusive education in 5 main ways:

Creation of 1.100 organic positions of psychologists and social workers for the first time in general education.
Greater flexibility in the form of the four-month assessment tests: Compatible with the differentiated teaching and facilitating adaptation to the needs of each student.
Provision of early educational intervention programs in the schools of primary education: In other words, parents are given the opportunity to apply earlier - before enrolling in kindergarten - to the Centers for Interdisciplinary Assessment, Counseling and Support (KEDASY) to assess the educational and psychosocial needs of their children. Aim to ensure that all students have the appropriate support to adopt individualized support measures in a timely manner.
Creation of the role of Liaison Officer with the Apprenticeship in the Unified Special Vocational Gymnasiums-Lyceums (EN.E.E.GYL).
Accessibility of the websites of all public schools.

b) Evaluation

11) What form will the evaluation of teachers take?

We introduce the evaluation of teachers' work, evaluation with a purely improving, non-punitive character, and emphasis on training as a necessary measure to establish a feedback mechanism and ensure the continuous improvement of the teacher and the quality of education.

The evaluation of the project is descriptive (4-point scale: "excellent", "very good", "satisfactory", "unsatisfactory"), not quantitative, and concerns three fields of evaluation: (a) general and special teaching, every 4 years, by the Scientific Responsibility / Specialty Education Advisor, (b) the pedagogical climate and classroom management, every 4 years, by the Principal, and (c) the service consistency and competence of a teacher, every 2 years, jointly by the Pedagogical Responsibility Education Advisor and the Director.

12) Why is teacher evaluation needed?

a) No education system can be improved if it is not evaluated. Assessment means recording the current situation, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of teachers' work, and providing pedagogical support where required.

b) Additional incentive for even greater supply and continuous improvement: Through the evaluation, the teachers themselves will emerge and their work will be rewarded. Evaluation ensures the continuous improvement of the educational project.

c) Greater freedom and autonomy at the school level requires a system of checks and balances - an accountability mechanism.

d) What happens abroad: Evaluation (central or local) is a common practice in 90% of European countries, with the basic exceptions of Greece, Turkey, Ireland, Malta and Iceland.

13) Are there any bonuses and / or penalties depending on the results of the evaluation for the teacher's career?

No. As in most European countries (90%), the main goal of teacher evaluation is to provide feedback and self-improvement. Additional incentives (eg bonuses) and sanctions are not the norm in EU countries. In the proposed bill, a positive evaluation is taken into account in the selection process in a position of responsibility, while a non-positive evaluation leads to a mandatory training program. . The responsibility for the planning and implementation of the specialized training is the Education Quality Supervisor (pedagogical education executive at the level of the Directorate of Education).

14) Is participation in the evaluation mandatory?

Yes, participation in any assessment process (school unit, teachers or staff) is mandatory. Failure to participate constitutes a disciplinary offense and penalties are provided: disciplinary penalty of withholding 1 month salary / grade-salary stagnation of the teacher.

c) Education Support Structures

15) What is changing in the educational structures and with what reasoning?

The main goal of the reform of the educational structures is to empower the teachers and to strengthen the pedagogical support they receive. For this purpose, positions of executives with a purely pedagogical character are established, ie positions of Education Quality Supervisors both at the level of the Regional Directorate of Education and at the level of the Directorate of Education. Education Counselors are increasing in number and serving in the Directorates of Education, in order to be closer to the schools and to support the educational community in practice and on a daily basis. Also, 1.100 new organic positions of psychologists and social workers are established in the Diagnosis, Counseling and Support Centers (KEDASY), which will cover the needs of the general and vocational education units.

16) What changes in the executive selection process?

As for the criteria for selecting training executives, the required length of service for assuming positions of responsibility is increased and the result of the evaluation of the candidate is added as a central selection criterion, something that had been eliminated by SYRIZA. A condition for the participation of executives and teachers in selection procedures in a position of responsibility, is that they have not been evaluated as insufficient or unsatisfactory, respectively, in the relevant evaluation reports during the last four years. Regarding the selection process of training executives, the trial of the case study is foreseen.

d) Ecclesiastical Education

17) How is the quality of the lot upgraded?

The present bill attempts to modernize and organize on a completely new basis the secondary, post-secondary and higher ecclesiastical education, with the aim of the overall upgrade of the quality of the clergy. Specifically, secondary ecclesiastical education is part of general secondary education under state supervision, while both teachers and students of ecclesiastical schools will be selected based on criteria, leading to the overall upgrade of secondary ecclesiastical education. In addition, 3 Schools for the Apprenticeship of Candidate Clergy (SMYK) are created, through the conversion of existing ecclesiastical schools, which will be structures of post-secondary ecclesiastical education with a two-year curriculum. From now on, a necessary condition for a clergyman to be paid by the state will be the possession of a SMYK Diploma or a university degree, putting an end to the phenomenon of paying primary, high school or high school graduates as clergy.

18) What changes in the map of higher ecclesiastical education?

In the context of the rationalization of the map of Higher Ecclesiastical Education, the forces of the existing structures of higher ecclesiastical education are united. The number of Higher Ecclesiastical Academies is reduced from four to two, which will operate in Athens and Crete, with the aim of upgrading the studies provided.

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