Prime Minister Edi Rama stated on Tuesday that the vast majority of students were able to attend classes online during the COVID-19 lockdown.
In a live chat on Instagram, he said there is still no decision on whether schools will be fully closed or will return to normal.
“It is useless to speculate on how long the situation will remain like this. All countries follow guesswork deadlines in the hope that things will change. If it was to do something drastic and absolutely 100% guaranteed, but that is unrealistic and impossible we would say that we should all be locked up at home until the virus goes away. But this is impossible because life has many needs”, said Rama.
Regarding the quality of online learning, the Prime Minister said that efforts are being made to improve. According to him, lessons was completed in its entirety.
“Is online teaching done with a quality that has fully compensated for the inability to go to school and continue with traditional learning? Of course it has been done, sometimes better, sometimes a little better but the important thing is that access is guaranteed to the vast majority. But we are trying to improve,” said the prime minister.
Not all students have had internet access and the government has so far not provided any packages to help students secure the internet. In this regard, Rama said that it is worth discussing the possibility of reducing the price of internet packages.
“Something like this has not been discussed to my knowledge, but I am glad to hear it as an incentive to put it up for discussion so that we can see how much is possible at this stage,” he said.
Rama stated that the budget of 2021 also envisages the provision of technological tools to attend online education, for students coming from families in need.
“This is the goal, we are dealing with this. We have included in the 2021 budget direct assistance for families in need, not related to COVID but for all families to receive double the economic assistance package, in conditions when it should limit undeclared work to help more children “, said Rama.
It’s estimated that 153,000 families in Albania do not have regular access to the internet. Furthermore, several recent reports have noted that Albanian internet packages are the least accessible in Europe in terms of cost in relation to the average salary.