'Without public education the future is over.' Behind this banner from the Marea Verde Platform, thousands of people gathered in Malaga and Seville to protest yesterday against the Government of the Junta, led by the popular Juanma Moreno, for its policy in this matter which, in their opinion, favors the private and concerted to the detriment of public. Today, hangover day, the main political parties take stock of this movement.
On the one hand, the PP-A insists on its “unquestionable” commitment to the public while the left criticizes them for not living up to the needs of the teaching staff and students. The “worsening” of educational quality, with “overcrowded” classrooms, with very high and often illegal ratios, the lack of human resources and teachers and, especially, of specific teachers who can attend to students with educational needs; The lack of investment in the works of the schools or the “non-compliance” with the Bioclimation Law are some of the reasons why the Platform called for this demonstration, in addition to considering that the Board is “more concerned” with subsidizing the private sector. and concerted while “leaving” university and public vocational training.
The popular parties have issued a statement stating that, despite the fact that “there are many challenges to be met and needs that must be answered”, they have an “unquestionable” commitment to the public, since they refer to the budget item, which “ has grown like never before in history” with 8,886 million euros (2,500 more than in 2018).
“There is more money for the private sector and more cuts for the public sector,” answered Mari García, head of the Adelante Andalucía Organization, while detailing that the amount allocated to the concerted sector has increased to 19.5%, something that affects the “school transportation, canteens, works in schools and infrastructure.” “One billion of public money, which is said to be very soon, for the concerted or private one,” he declared.
On the other hand, the regional government has indicated that Andalusia has “the largest staff of teachers in the country”, with 108,000 employees, and the “best paid” despite the fact that there are 90,000 fewer students than in 2019. Data that contradicts those offered by Marea Verde, which indicated that since the PP arrived in San Telmo “more than 2,000 classes have been lost” being, according to the Platform, the second region that invests the least in education per student in the entire State.
This “progressive privatization and precariousness” also affects the PETIS, Special Education Technical Personnel”, which puts vulnerable students in an even more delicate situation.
In this sense, Juan Espadas, general secretary of the PSOE-A, asks the Juna to address the needs of a "deficient" system where "resources are urgently lacking" with Special Education being "one of the key issues to improve." “That diversity attention personnel be strengthened and adequately equipped, which is far below reality,” he says. For the socialist, we would have to work on lowering the ratios by simplifying “overcrowded” classrooms.
The Minister of Educational Development and Vocational Training, Patricia del Pozo, has defended that the Government of Andalusia has opted for a project for education based on freedom, equality and quality, which does recognize excellence and values effort as essential element in the training process. Thus, the main challenges of the Andalusian Government for this legislature are "to improve academic results and advance inclusion and attention to diversity so that no student is left behind."
Along with these principles, he added that a necessary orientation of the model towards employment opportunities was important, especially in Vocational Training studies, the best youth employment plan. So much so that the unemployment rate among Andalusians under 25 years of age has dropped by five percentage points, which in 2018 reached "a scandalous 45%." In this way, some 19,000 young people have been incorporated into the productive system in the last 5 years.
This policy aims to make schools and institutes “high performance centers”, where the greatest teaching load is Mathematics and Language, including for the first time Planned Compulsory Reading from 1st of Primary to 4th of ESO, taking into account, that reading comprehension is key to improving academic results, as well as to obtaining and processing information, so that it allows knowledge to be built and transformed, he explained.