Online teaching and learning in Portugal during the Covid-19 pandemic: Differences between public and private schools

Diogo Conceição, Pedro Freitas, Gonçalo Lima, Luís Catela Nunes and Ana Balcão Reis, Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Concurso para apoiar projetos de investigação sobre o impacto social da covid-19 (LL20-3)

In Portugal, the covid-19 pandemic led to temporary school lockdowns and a generalised move to online teaching. This article uses data from a survey administered to teachers between March 2020 and January 2021 in three rounds of questionnaires. It shows that the pandemic affected public and private schools differently and led to increased inequalities in education, as many students did not have access to computers and the Internet. The situation improved over time, especially in private schools, where students are mostly from higher-income families. Overall, teachers were able to diversify their teaching and assessment methods. However, they believed that it would take a long time for students to recover the learning losses, with public school teachers being more pessimistic. Nearly half of public school teachers surveyed believed that this recovery would take two terms or more, whereas over a third of private school teachers made this prediction. This data was collected before the second lockdown, which started in January 2021. Teachers’ estimates for recovery time have likely increased since then.
Key points
  • 1
       During the first lockdown, teachers diversified their online teaching methods and assessment practices in both public and private schools.
  • 2
       In public schools, streaming online instruction rose from 22% in March 2020 to 89% in May 2020. In private schools, it rose from 63% in March to 98% during this period.
  • 3
       In March 2020, at the beginning of the first lockdown, the vast majority of public school teachers (78%) reported that more than 10% of their students didn’t have access to a computer and the Internet. Only 39% of private school teachers reported this problem.
  • 4
       In March 2020, at the beginning of the first lockdown, the vast majority of public school teachers (78%) reported that more than 10% of their students didn’t have access to a computer and the Internet. Only 39% of private school teachers reported this problem.

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Diogo Conceição, Pedro Freitas, Gonçalo Lima, Luís Catela Nunes and Ana Balcão Reis , Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

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