A focus on educational and social content

Homework for the next day, but also English, gym, music, computer studies, dance, theater and then home: That’s what is on the menu for nursery and primary level pupils attending all-day schools. According to the state statistical service, ESYE, in the 2002-2003 school year, 734,852 pupils attended all-day schools, of whom 136,407 were at nursery schools and 598,445 at primary schools. About 46 percent of state nursery and primary schools will operate on a all-day basis this year. The Education Ministry has introduced three changes in order to bolster all-day schooling. – English lessons will begin in the third grade of primary school instead of the fourth, as has been the case until now, and there will be three hours of English lessons per week. – The hours of backup teaching will rise from five to 10 per week in the upper three grades of primary school. During the all-day program, teachers will help children with their homework for the following day. – Administration will be reinforced by the appointment of an assistant principal who is responsible for the all-day school. Measures have been taken to ensure that the new institution does not operate solely due to the hard work of a few individuals, as is presently case in most schools. The responsibilities of those in charge of inspecting and overseeing the schools have been specified. A school principal, the head of the local primary education office and the schools adviser are jointly responsible for the supervision of all-day schools in their area. The ministry has stipulated that these three meet with parents every two months. «As we all understand, the all-day school has a strong educational and social content. It was designed to meet high educational goals, such as the pedagogical use of the time children spend at school in the afternoon, under the full responsibility and supervision of teachers,» Deputy Education Minister Nikolaos Gesoulis told Kathimerini. «The program includes help with Greek and mathematics homework for the next day from the teacher and not from parents,» he added. Children can also take up other lessons and activities which upgrade the role of the school, such as foreign languages, an introduction to information technology, sports, dance, theater, music and the visual arts. «These subjects create an open educational environment and make learning more attractive,» Gesoulis explained. «In order to meet those targets, preparation and extra help for Greek and math in all-day schools will be the responsibility of the teacher in charge of those departments, and the other subjects will be taught by teachers specialized in those fields. The syllabus for every subject has already been drawn up and sent to schools.»

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