Online classes to continue in the north of Kosovo?

Foto: KoSSev – OŠ Branko Radičević

After almost a month of online classes, schools in Kosovo Serb communities will finally open this Monday, the Serbian Ministry of Education confirmed yesterday. In the meantime, however, the head of the School Administration in Kosovo, Ivan Zaporozac, reportedly informed educational institutions that this does not apply to schools in the north of Kosovo. Zaporozac has yet to officially confirm the news.

Since the beginning of the school year, every Friday, the Ministry of Education of Serbia has been informing the public about the way schools in the Serbian educational system will be operating in the upcoming week.

Unlike the previous decisions of this ministry, yesterday’s announcement revealed that the municipalities in Kosovo are no longer in the red zone which envisages online classes.

Although the ministry announced that schools in Kosovo Serb communities would open on Monday, another announcement was sent to educational institutions in northern Kosovo on the same day – via e-mail signed by the Head of the Kosovo School Administration, which the KoSSev portal had an insight into.

„I would like to inform you that the memo on the organization of work from September 27th, 2021, which we sent you, DOES NOT APPLY TO SCHOOLS FROM THE NORTH OF KOSOVO. An official memo from the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Development will be forwarded to you during the day. Sincerely, Ivan Zaporozac.“

Despite KoSSev’s multiple attempts to get in touch with Zaporozac yesterday, our calls to the head of the school administration went unanswered.

At the same time, as the online classes are reportedly set to continue, teachers are on duty at the barricades in northern Kosovo, which the head of the school administration, as well as school principals, who were also seen at the protests, themselves confirmed.

After receiving the alleged memo sent to a part of school institutions in the north of Kosovo – about the duty rosters of teachers of certain schools, which stated that teachers are asked to understand „duty“ as a work obligation – from an anonymous source, the KoSSev portal tried to verify these allegations as well.

However, Zaporozac has not responded to our messages or calls to date.

Parents protest over online classes

Protests led by a small group of disgruntled parents in North Mitrovica over online classes have been taking place since Monday.

Concerned parents, as they call themselves, sought answers to the questions according to which system Serb schools in Kosovo operate, and why parents “do not have a say in anything” when it comes to their children’s education. They also underlined that according to the number of COVID-19 infections, north of Kosovo is not in the red zone, adding there is no valid reason for children to attend online classes.

According to KoSSev’s findings, in the meantime, the educational institutions have received a memo.

The document KoSSev had insight into reveals that the schools of the North Mitrovica administrative district will not open on Monday, and that the kindergartens will remain closed also.

The decision to continue with the third model of teaching was made by the team for monitoring and coordinating the implementation of preventive measures in the work of schools. The decision was made following an „additional analysis of indicators used to assess the epidemiological situation“ – at the request of the Public Health Institute in North Mitrovica.

The team for monitoring and coordinating the implementation of preventive measures, the document further states, concluded that “intensive transmission of the virus with an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients is evident, as well as those measures to prevent and control infection in schools cannot be implemented properly.“

Although this team is talking about the „intensive transmission of the virus“ in Kosovo, according to the latest report on new infections in Kosovo Serb communities, 24 new cases of infection have been identified. At the same time, the latest 24-hour report from the Kosovo Ministry of Health indicates that 84 new cases have been registered throughout Kosovo.

During that time, in central Serbia, where many schools work according to the first or second model, more than 6,000 new infections were registered in just one day.

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