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May 20, 2022



Adriana Kotlárová, educator at school with many Romani pupils: Families have no Internet access, personal contact unavoidable even during COVID-19

20.4.2020 11:34
Romani community member and teacher at the primary school on the Romani-inhabited Chanov housing estate in the Czech Republic in an interview for ROMEA TV. (April 2020)
Romani community member and teacher at the primary school on the Romani-inhabited Chanov housing estate in the Czech Republic in an interview for ROMEA TV. (April 2020)

Romani community member Adriana Kotlárová is from the Czech town of Most and graduated in secondary school instruction with a focus on Czech language and literature and social sciences from the Education Faculty in Ústí nad Labem. Since 2016 she has been teaching that the Primary School on the Chanov housing estate, where many Romani people live.

ROMEA TV interviewed her in her capacity as the homeroom teacher for the ninth grade there and asked how she sees the COVID-19 situation. How is the school coping with distance learning?

Where have complications arisen and how are they being resolved? What is the situation of ninth-graders now?

What are teachers concerned about? How should parents approach home schooling?

Interviewer Richard Samko asked her these questions and more. All ninth-grade pupils have found themselves in a complicated situation because of the quarantine.

This is the time of year when entrance examinations to secondary school would normally be happening. The Education Ministry has decided that those entrance examinations will not happen until the children return to regular instruction.

The authorities have also announced that ninth-graders will have an opportunity to apply to two different secondary schools, but will have to pass the entrance examination on the first attempt. There will not be an opportunity to hold a second round of entrance examinations this year.

"This is a very complex situation, they are meant to prepare for their entrance examinations, but instruction is not happening and there is a minimum of preparation. There is subject matter on the exams that has not been taught yet, but that could appear on the entrance tests. The preparation had been underway intensively since November, as had tutoring and hobby groups. Now, all of that is unfortunately on hold. Because everybody will get just one attempt at the exam, we all have concerns about how that will turn out," she told ROMEA TV.

Kotlárová comes from Most, where her family still lives. She decided to work at the Chanov Primary School after interviewing with the principal.

"After I graduated from college I returned to Most, where I have family, from Ústí nad Labem. I interviewed in several places and on the basis of my meeting with the principal of the Chanov school I decided to work there," said the teacher, who is in her fourth year.

"I have the feeling that I've grown up here at Chanov. During my studies I was just a student, a child. Here I have been given responsibility for others, to teach them and raise them. It's not just that I have taught something to the children, but they teach me something each day. They have different interests, sports or music. I have a boxer in one class, so I've learned the rules of boxing," she said.

The teachers are doing their best to aid their pupils' parents with home schooling. Some households unfortunately do not have access to the Internet, but the Chanov Primary School is doing its best to solve that problem.

"The instruction is currently demanding, many children have no access to the Internet. The children come to us to get their homework or we bring it to them," she said.

Parents are able to pick up homework and materials at the school itself or download them from the school's website. If parents don't know what to do with the homework or the material, they are meant to contact their children's teacher.

"That's the difficult situation, contact with the teacher is important. The teacher will advise, instruct, explain the assignment, clarify the approach required. Here I would advise parents to be in contact with the teacher," she said.

"It is important to teach children in a calm environment. If they neglect instruction right now, they will fall behind. The parents are playing a pivotal role," she told ROMEA TV.


th, vhl, sam, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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