Portugal’s schools ‘switch to distance learning’ with over 330,000 pupils without computers

Portugal’s schools switched to distance learning on Monday in an atmosphere of controlled chaos. 

Hundreds of children and teachers had no alternative but to return to the classrooms after the education ministry said ‘deprived children’ should continue with face-to-face learning. 

Estimates are that at least 335,000 children are still waiting for computers promised by the State.

But it’s not just an issue of missing computers. The children will need internet connections that reach their homes – and as a recent study revealed, many do not even have basic living conditions in those home (click here).

Reports today paint an uncertain picture: of parents and schools hoping school closures will be as ‘brief’ as possible, while epidemiologists are stressing the only reason the country’s virus situation is improving is because schools have shut.

A leader writer today has commented: “In a country as unequal as Portugal, where one in every five Portuguese lives below the poverty line, school should be a platform that allows children born into poor families to rise out of this precarious situation. But Portugal is failing, and confinement is blocking the role of school as a social elevator even further”.

Writing in tabloid Correio da Manhã, director-general Armando Esteves Pereira adds very much what the recent study tried to highlight, “there are many children suffering from cold and going hungry. Sometimes school is the only place where they eat a decent meal. Everyone is born equal, but to paraphrase George Orwell ‘some are more equal than others’. And the State is failing because all children deserve the same opportunities”.

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