Conference Abstracts

The Pandemic as a Challenge for Universities  

Radka Wildová, Deputy Minister of Education

The experience of almost three semesters of forced transition to "remote" learning, with the last semester taking place in a "hybrid" mode, has presented key challenges for both the quality and flexibility of teaching methods and education as a whole (i.e. implementing new online learning elements) and the quality and flexibility of study programmes (especially in terms of defining accredited forms of study and their standards).

The COVID-19 epidemic and its impact on the pupil, student and teacher populations in different school levels in the Czech Republic

Ladislav Dušek, Institute of Health Information and Statistics

The presentation will summarize the comprehensive data available on the spread of the disease in the Czech population of children, adolescents and employees throughout the epidemic. The of the new National Health Threat Management Information System’s components and capabilities and its readiness to provide control of schools and school facilities for the next period will be briefly presented. A retrospective comparison of the population and health impacts of the different virus variants dominating the population over the entire epidemic period from March 2020 to February 2022 will be presented. The current epidemic situation and the results from the 2022 school-based universal testing will be evaluated in detail, with an assessment of the tests’ information quality.

The Covid-19 Pandemic and Regional Education: an Opportunity to Pay Off Old Debts and Education Policy Commitments?

Karel Gargulák, PAQ Research

The aim of this paper is to summarize selected data perspectives and implemented investigations of the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the regional education system. This data will be analysed in the context of past and current education policy commitments, where the post-covid situation may be an opportunity to pay off the Czech education system’s long-term debts concerning its governance and support.

The Infodemic: Fake News on Steroids

Miloš Gregor, Faculty of Social Studies, MU

Misinformation has quickly become one of the most prominent and debated COVID-19 pandemic’s non-health issues. The rapid technological developments and changes in the information environment became a breeding ground for manipulative and false information long before the pandemic. Users' insecurity and lack of media literacy, combined with a significant change in the social situation altering daily habits and lifestyles, has resulted in what the WHO calls the "infodemic" - the widespread and rapid spread of misinformation and disinformation.

This paper analyses the main narratives of misinformation spread among the public during the pandemic. The analysis is partly based on data from the collaborative publication Political Communication and COVID-19 (Lilleker, Coman, Gregor, and Novelli, eds., 2021) and relies on a comparison of 27 national case studies and the communications from two multinational organizations (WHO and EU). The analysis reveals that the ability to deal with false information spreading on social media, as well as the swiftness of the reactions, varies from country to country. It also shows that different actors (governments or NGOs) were active in exposing misinformation in different countries. The final part of the paper focuses on the Czech Republic and the student initiatives that help to identify fake news during the pandemic.

How Are Universities Supporting the Current Transformation of Education? The Perspective of Students in Teacher Training Programmes​

Karla Brücknerová, Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Arts, MU

Czech primary and secondary education is going through a unique period. Universities training teachers are among those responsible for using current events to improve the quality of our country’s education. How are they fulfilling this role? Teacher training programme students may provide a partial answer. We will confront qualitative data from interviews with students of pedagogy with current educational policy strategies. This process will allow us to make specific suggestions for current pedagogy studies.

CERGE-EI: The Impact of the Pandemic on Education and Scholarship at Home and Around the World: What We Know, What We Suspect, What We Do Not Know and Why

Daniel Münich, CERGE-EI

The paper will summarize the most important findings from the world and the Czech Republic concerning the impact of two years of the Covid-19 pandemic on the process and results of school education. The findings and gaps in current knowledge will be discussed in the context of national levels of data-driven, information and evidence-based education policy and perceptions of the status, relevance, and potential of social sciences in general.

Grammar Schools during the Pandemic

Jiří Herman, Headmaster of Gymnázium Brno, třída Kapitána Jaroše

A few specific observations on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the daily life of this particular secondary school.

Studies at Masaryk Unviersity during the Pandemic

Michal Bulant, Masaryk University

A review of surveys (not only) among students and teachers at Masaryk University concerning teaching and studying during the pandemic and a  presentation of various experiences while trying to maintain the study agenda during troubling times.

The Lives of Academics during the Pandemic: Impacts and Challenges

Kateřina Zábrodská, Institute of Psychology, The Czech Academy of Sciences

The Covid-19 pandemic and related measures have significantly affected the higher education sector as well as the professional and personal lives of Czech academics. International research has identified a number of the pandemic’s negative impacts on academics, including an increase in work stress and psychological strain in general, and a reinforcement of gender inequalities caused in particular by difficulties in reconciling work and family due to the reduced availability of institutional childcare. The aim of this presentation is to summarise the pandemic’s most significant negative effects on the working and personal lives of academics and to discuss appropriate measures to mitigate them. We will base the presentation not only on systematic reviews of international studies, but also on the results of the unique “University Students and Academics after the Third Wave of the Coronavirus Pandemic” survey conducted by a consortium research team in May and June 2021 at selected Czech universities.

Caught between Fast and Slow Science

Filip Vostal, Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences

It is nearly impossible to find any researchers confidently stating that they have enough time for their work. 'Time poverty', as a number of studies have shown, seems to be widespread; time scarcity and hurry seem to be pervasive in the professional and personal lives of academics and researchers. However, this experience is highly differentiated and depends on a number of sociological variables. One may still ask: does academia need to slow down, as the Slow Science movement suggests? Do we need to start cultivating a principle, or even an ethic, of slowness in academia? Is this possible in the context of accelerating modernity? Is academia looking for some kind of temporal autonomy instead? Would a "slow" science not become too rigid? This paper will focus on the following paradox: the demand for "slow" science on the one hand, and the need for a dynamic pace of science, which in many ways must provide a quick and flexible response to social developments, on the other.

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