Two years of pandemic still affect the students; Støre: The toughest thing was to close the schools

Student examsPhoto: Lise Åserud / NTB
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Closed schools and digital education for two years have eroded students’ motivation and faith in the future. “We do not have time to have no hope,” Støre says.

Two years of strict corona measures and reduced social contact have affected most people, but students in upper secondary school, in particular, have had two specific years.

“I haven’t had any practice in giving presentations, so I think it’s very hard,” Erlend Omland, who is in first grade at Oslo Cathedral School, told NTB.

“It’s also been hard to find time for everything. I really like history and have spent a lot of time on it at home. Now it is hard with subjects like math, there is a lot of new stuff,” Omland said.

Still demanding

After two years of corona measures, he and his fellow students think it has been demanding to go from junior high school to upper secondary school.

“I felt I was more outgoing in junior high school and talked more in the classroom than I do now. It’s probably a consequence of being at home so much and only socializing through a PC,” Abdirahman Bukhari Yusuf in second grade said.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (AP) and Minister of Education Tonje Brenna (AP) met students at Oslo Cathedral School to talk about how the pandemic has affected them.

The students were clear – they still feel behind academically, fear that more will drop out, and find it difficult to keep their motivation up.

Støre: The measures were necessary

“This was the toughest part of the measures: to restrict everyday school and university life,” Støre told NTB.

Nevertheless, he maintains that the decision was the right one and that the situation would be worse with no action. Now he thinks the most important thing is to have the most normal school and social life possible.

“Now, it is important to have a presence from the school management so that they can follow up the students who may have gaps and are vulnerable. I think Norwegian schools are good at that,” Støre said.

During the meeting, several of the students said that two years of the pandemic, followed by the war on their own continent, had made them less hopeful for the future. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre gave them clear advice:

“We do not have time to have no hope. It is now we have to turn up,” he told students and pointed to, among other things, the refugees who are coming to Norway from Ukraine.

Promised to do everything to keep schools open

Minister of Education Brenna said that it was impressive to hear the students talk about how the pandemic has affected them. She was clear that the decision to close the schools had been difficult.

“It is the students who have paid the highest price for the measures we introduced,” Brenna said. She believes that the pandemic has been like a magnifying glass on all aspects of society.

“If you have struggled at school, it may have been even more difficult during the pandemic,” Brenna added.

Cautious optimists

The students NTB talked to said that they are not quite able to relax and let go of the fear of a new shutdown.

“I’ve tried to be optimistic for so incredibly long, but if there is a new shutdown, I will break,” said Dorna Anzali, who is in first grade.

Brenna said that it is difficult to make promises in a world that was first hit by a pandemic and then a war in Europe.

“But I can promise that we will do everything we can for the schools to remain open, that the students will learn what they need, and be able to be with their friends,” Brenna stated.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayEducation

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