EVALUATING DISTANCE EDUCATION IN SERBIA DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Authors: Suzana V. Marković Krstić, Lela R. Milošević Radulović
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Education is a significant factor which contributes to overcoming social, economic, health, ecological and other challenges. During a pandemic, formal education adapts to ongoing circumstances, and the learning-teaching process transitions to distance education. A study of the advantages and disadvantages of the realization of certain modalities of distance education is significant as it contributes to the improvement of its quality. The aim was to determine how the citizens of Serbia evaluated the quality of distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research questions focused on how they evaluated: distance education based on modality (via Radio Television of Serbia, Google Classroom, Google Meet, Zoom, Viber groups, WhatsApp), the level of involvement of the learners/students during distance learning classes, the quality and extent of their acquired knowledge, and the level of skills that teachers need to effectively teach in distance education. The study presents the results of a survey carried out in 2020 on a sample of 602 adult Serbian citizens. The results confirm the initial hypothesis that certain modalities of distance education received a highly positive evaluation (Google Classroom, Google Meet, Zoom), and that teachers, learners/students, and other citizens provided statistically significant different evaluations of their quality (classes for primary and secondary school students broadcast on the Radio Television of Serbia; classes via Viber groups, on WhatsApp). Citizens feel that distance education enables efficient learning-teaching during the pandemic, confirming the importance of modern technologies for the learning-teaching process in Serbia, and the need for their continued intense development and application in education.