On Thursday, the Education Ministry published a survey which showed that almost half of Israeli teenagers in high school and junior high said that their studies suffered because of COVID-19.
The survey was conducted across the country in about 3,000 schools with 560,000 students participating from grade 5th to 11th.
Its purpose was to assess the impact of the pandemic on the atmosphere of schools and the learning environment from the emotional, social and pedagogical standpoints in the last school year.
The older grades
The highest level of negative impacts of the pandemic were seen in students that belonged to the two highest grades who participated in the survey.
As for students in lower grades, they mostly said that they had been unaffected and had actually seen a positive impact from the changes that schools had undergone due to the coronavirus pandemic.
54% of the students in grades 10 and 11 said that their studies were negatively affected by the pandemic, while 46% of them suffered emotional harm.
There were also 31% who said that they had suffered from negative social impacts. As for 7th to 9th graders, there were 47% who had had their studies impacted.
28% saw their social lives take a hit, while 38% also dealt with emotional impact.
The younger grades
As far as the youngest grades are concerned, 39% of the students saw their studies benefit, while 33% saw them suffer.
Likewise 35% of them benefitted emotionally, while 28% of them had to suffer emotionally due to the pandemic.
There were also 41% students who said that they benefitted socially, but 22% saw it get worse for them socially.
The school professionals as well as the education minister said that the results of the survey were certainly concerning.
Yifat Shasha-Biton, the Education Minister, said that the survey results show how the two difficult years of the pandemic have affected the education system.
For most of last year, schools in Israel had remained mostly open, but with varying degrees of social distancing, online learning and face mask requirements.
The National Authority for Measurement and Evaluation in Education, which is known as RAMA, conducts the survey every year on behalf of the Education Ministry.
However, usually it considers issues such as relationships between the students and staff, violence and integration.
The Education Minister disclosed that last year, they had invested almost half a billion shekels for reducing the gaps that had been created by the COVID pandemic, most of which were social and emotional.
She said that since schools are educational sites, they play a key role in nurturing and shaping the social and emotional side of students and this can have an impact on their academic achievements.
She went on to say that the findings of the survey can be helpful in this task because they enable them to focus on the necessary measures required.
The chairman of the High School Principals Association, Menashe Levy said that the results showed that schools did not have skilled staff for providing quality education as well as emotional experience.