Technical difficulties, feelings of anxiety and tension encountered by students, parents and teachers during distant learning in Armenia

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YEREVAN, February 4. /ARKA/. The majority of elementary school students, their parents as well as teachers encountered a variety of technical difficulties, feelings of anxiety and tension, and also a lack of self-organizing skills during remote learning imposed last spring to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to the findings of a survey conducted by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Armenia.

According to the survey, between March and May 2020, elementary school students from low-income families experienced more barriers to distance learning, including lack of smartphones or computers, poor quality or no internet connection.

Some 48% of teachers surveyed admitted that they felt anxious when they had technical difficulties during online lessons, and 30% felt anxious when assessing student knowledge. Also, 56% of teachers experienced tension due to technical difficulties.

Regardless of socioeconomic status, most parents tried to balance the roles of a working parent and a spouse. They complained about lack of self-organization and time management skills.

The greatest blow was received by children who need special educational conditions. Parents interviewed reported that it was impossible to meet the learning requirements of their children in the online learning environment.

The survey was conducted in August-September 2020 and all questions were related to the March-May time span of the same year. To obtain quality data, interviews were conducted with parents, elementary school students, teachers, psychologists and school principals.

To obtain quantitative data, a survey was conducted among elementary school teachers in all regions of Armenia and the capital Yerevan.

The survey was financed by a grant provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In August, 2020 ADB approved a grant-financed $750,000 Knowledge and Support Technical Assistance project to help Armenia improve resilience to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and other disasters by developing and operationalizing a distance education platform.
Under the program, a distance education platform was to be developed to provide more learning modalities and information in a learner-friendly format. The platform was to support kindergarten through grade 12 education institutions to deliver online courses and provide teachers and students with real-time feedback mechanisms, assignment distribution and monitoring, and other student-centric learning tools.

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