Victorian government seeks public feedback on remote and flexible learning

The Victorian government is after feedback on remote and flexible learning in a bid to improve the state’s education system.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino is calling on principals, teachers, parents, and students to have their say about what lessons were learned about remote and flexible learning when it was enforced due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

“This is a real opportunity to improve our education system and learn from the remote teaching and learning experience,” Merlino said.

Victorian government primary, secondary, and specialist schools moved to remote and flexible learning and teaching at the start of term 2 in mid-April to slow the spread of coronavirus.

During that period, the state government partnered with Telstra to provide an additional 21,000 internet dongles to students as part of efforts to provide internet access for remote learning.

It followed the state government announcing at the start of April that it would provide 4,000 SIM cards and 1,000 SIM-enabled dongle devices to students who do not have access to digital technologies.

See also: COVID-19: How universities made the pivot to e-learning (TechRepublic)

The Victorian government also launched a website to support teachers teaching students during the COVID-19 outbreak. The website, called Learning from Home, was designed to provide curriculum-based learning resources for early childhood services and primary and secondary school students.

Students returned to school for face-to-face learning on May 26.

The consultation survey will conclude ahead of a summit in July, which will discuss lessons learned and investigate what improvements can be made to the education system as a result of the remote teaching and learning period.

The summit will see participation from students, school leaders and peak associations.

“This summit will bring our school sectors together to report back about the benefits and challenges of remote learning,” Merlino said.

“We know that there have been many positives from this experience, and we have a responsibility to learn from them.”

The Victorian government added separate reports on remote learning are being prepared by Parliamentary Secretary for Schools Tim Richardson and Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education Sonya Kilkenny, as well an independent analysis being across the government, independent and Catholic school sectors.

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