The opposition LMŠ, SD, Levica, and SAB in the National Assembly failed to gather enough votes in support of the interpellation of the Minister of Education, Science, and Sport Simona Kustec. Only 38 MPs voted in favour of the interpellation, and for the interpellation to succeed 46 votes would be needed. According to a political analyst Miloš Čirič, yesterday’s interpellation was completely meaningless, because the interpellation is a tool when the opposition also has strong arguments for it, and now they are losing support among MPs, as evidenced by the small number of votes. “I am convinced that in this way they will get less and less votes, they will lose their credibility, which is not the wisest thing to do politically,” explained Čirič. Yesterday’s interpellation thus had the opposite effect than desired, as the Minister was given the opportunity to show the public all her achievements, which are not negligible.
Interpellation is a tool for assessing the suitability of a minister when supported by good arguments. “In this case, it could be noticed that this interpellation was staged by force,” says political analyst Miloš Čirič, who explains that in this case we witnessed one of the most boring interpellations we have ever seen. According to Čirič, the Minister of Education, Science, and Sport, Simona Kustec, prepared very well for the discussion, wherein she also listed all her achievements.
Čirič notes that in the case of Minister Kustec’s interpellation, the opposition failed to come up with any real arguments that would actually confirm the minister’s inadequacy. And in this way, the opposition is losing its credibility and votes in the long run, while the interpellation was supported by only 38 MPs. “As we have seen, there are fewer votes every time, and I think there will be even fewer in the next interpellation,” said Čirič.
The Minister’s actions during the pandemic were appropriate – this prevented a large number of infections
In her replies to the interpellation, the Minister rejected all allegations, and was pleased with the discussions, as she was able to highlight her achievements and views, and given the support shown by the MPs, they also recognise her hard work. “When a pandemic broke out, which is an abnormal situation, the Minister had to decide between two bad decisions and chose the one that was less bad,” explains Čirič, adding that otherwise it could have ended much worse, as children could infect their parents and grandparents, which could prove fatal for some. In all likelihood, a much higher number of infections would also occur, although according to research, children are more likely to be infected from adults than from peers.
Thus, on the one hand, the Minister had to decide between the welfare of the children or the risks that the education of the children would bring. “Our primary concern, even in times of special circumstances, was to ensure equal opportunities for distance education and to enable a smooth educational process for all children. Even from the most vulnerable social environment,” the Minister explained, stressing that they were constantly aware that distance education could not replace teaching at school. “However, given the poor epidemiological picture this was the only possible way to protect everyone involved in the system.”
However, distance learning did not only have negative effects on children
The opposition blames Kustec that distance learning is bad for children, but the situation is extraordinary. Moreover, many children fell in love with distance learning, and we also took a step forward with the development of society. “Certainly, schooling from home has also brought many new opportunities and views,” explains Čirič and clarifies that new opportunities have emerged in education that we did not know about or did not use them to our advantage. “For example, now schools will be able to organise a lecture by a highly recognised teacher from another school, and the lecture will be able to be attended by an unlimited number of children,” he points out.
In addition, children who are absent from school for health reasons (some even longer) could be allowed to attend classes remotely, but in the past such a child was excluded and had to go through all the material for the entire period of his/her absence. And if it went on for a longer term, such a child had to take differential exams or even repeat a year. “Our fundamental and common task is to make sure that children can be protected and educated in kindergartens and schools. All this largely depends on ourselves,” the Minister explained at the interpellation, pointing out the fact that the interpellation revealed how important education is, she further stressed out the following: “I am making a commitment to continue to fight for the autonomy of all who make up the school field, the field of sports, and science. I will do my best to continue to look for the best solutions for all these fields.”