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Survey: 91.5% of teachers say schools are not prepared to work with 6-year-olds

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWhen asked if schools are ready for 6-year-olds, 91.5% of teachers say they are not. 69.8% of them say adapting schools for small pupils would be an expensive and lengthy process, as concluded in the survey organized by Latvian Private Pre-school Association and Independent Education Association.

Teachers have a justified opinion about 6-year-olds in school, and they want to be heard. This is proven by the recently published invitation from Education and Science Ministry.

Mass media actively discuss Education and Science Ministry’s planned reform, which includes the idea for children to commence their school days at the age of six. Opinions differ on this matter – ministry representatives mention benefits from starting school early, whereas a number of experts, psychologists and doctors say this could cause serious damage to children. Because the reform will be realized by teachers, respondents were asked if children are even ready to start going to school at such a young age.

51% of teachers agree that the best time for starting school depends more on children’s psychological readiness, rather than their biological age. 42.5% of teachers say the likely agree with the previous statement. Only 6.5% of teachers said they do not agree.

Teachers were also asked if they would support the ministry’s idea to start school days for children when they are six. 80% of teachers aid children are not ready for school at such a young age, adding that the current order, when children start going to school at seven should be maintained. 15% of teachers said they would support this idea only if rooms, lessons and school hours are adapted to children’s needs.

One of ministry’s main arguments in favour of the reform is that children go to school unprepared. 46% of respondents said that it all depends on the quality of work performed by the education institution, whereas 27.5% of respondents said that academic accomplishments depend on each individual child, not the education programme.

As part of the survey, teachers were asked to comment as to why Education and Science Ministry came up with this idea. Most teachers said that the ministry was driven by economic reasons. Teachers say the ministry hopes youngsters enter the labour market sooner.

Another opinion is that the reform is one of the ways to imitate active work of the ministry, experiment in the education sector, or that the sector’s policy is compiled by theorists, not people with practical experience. Some teachers also said that the idea for sending 6-year-old children to school appeared, deriving from experience of other countries.

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