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Government: Schools should have option of distance learning if needed

Traditional schooling could be alternated with remote learning, says Education Minister Li Andersson.

kosonen andersson
Minister of Science and Culture Hanna Kosonen and Education Minister Li Andersson spoke to reporters on Thursday.
Yle News

The Ministry of Education is seeking temporary flexibility in laws governing schools due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday the government approved a bill to temporarily adjust the Basic Education Act and the Act on Vocational Education. The bill would allow exceptional teaching arrangement, if called for by an infectious disease situation.

Minister of Education Li Andersson said that in practice, this means that traditional schooling could be alternated with remote learning under certain circumstances regarding a contagious disease. The decision on switching to distance learning could be made for one month at a time, and on a local basis, she said at a press conference on Thursday.

Regular in-school instruction will once again be main form of teaching in both basic and secondary education next autumn, the minister said.

"Although we have so far succeeded in preventing the spread of the virus in Finland, it is unclear how the epidemic situation will look next autumn and whether we will experience a second wave of the coronavirus," Andersson said.

€68m in extra school funding

The bill approved on Thursday would also allow the cabinet to propose changes in the Polytechnics Act and the Universities Act.

The proposed changes to the Basic Education Act would not affect pupils in preschool or grades 1-3 or those receiving special support.

It would be in effect from 1 August to the end of the year.

In its supplementary budget proposal unveiled on Tuesday, the government earmarked 14 million euros in special subsidies for basic education and early childhood education units, as well as the same amount for high school education and 40 million for vocational education.

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