Less is more. The quote attributed to the architect Mies Van der Rohe has been the watchword of the demands for the improvement of educational quality in Andalusia for years. Parents, teachers and students have asked over and over again for a ratio drop, the number of students per class, in order to attend to diversity and offer the most personalized teaching possible. Now that the school enrollment rate is falling due to the drop in the birth rate, it could be the moment. However, the unions criticize that the deletion of public school units is “a constant drain” that does not allow real changes in educational centers.
Nor in those of the province of Málagadespite the fact that this course has reversed the trend of recent years and more classrooms have been created for the first time than have been closed. According to the BOJA on November 10, 128 units have been suppressed in Malaga schools and institutes, 57 of them from the second cycle of Early Childhood Education. In turn, 165 have been created. Of these, 45 are for Infants and 78 for Primary.
Although in coastal towns there is a greater creation of units and resources in the centers, in Malaga capital happens otherwise. 47 units are suppressed and only 26 are created, so this school year there are 21 fewer classrooms in the city’s public centers.
Santiago Ramirez, CCOO
“This year there are many creations of units, but some of them are not classes themselves but rather personnel resources, Special Education, Hearing and Language and Logopedia teachers who join the center, since last year they count these jobs as units , is one of the traps that the Department makes”, assures Santiago Ramírez, head of CCOO Non-University Teaching Public. And he points out that, although it is very positive that there are more specific personnel, “it is still insufficient.”
Another point to take into account, warn from the CCOO and UGT, is that the deletions and creations of units are carried out at the end of the previous course. For this reason, “registrations that occur after the deadline, due to a change of address or other reasons, are not counted because these classroom suppressions are made at the end of the course and do not take into account subsequent changes.”
Juan Vilchez, Secretary of Public Education of UGT Málagaadds that “there is a lot of extraordinary enrollment due to the high seasonality of work on the Costa del Sol, above all, that is not taken into account and that what it causes is the saturation of the classrooms that remain complete because the suppression has already been done”.
As an example of this mobility, the person in charge of CCOO points out that last September almost 50 students in Malaga could not start their mandatory stage because there were no places, they had to reassign them. “From the Board they claim redistribution of resources, prevent unnecessary spending, they make the bleeding every year in the public school while in the concerted it is reviewed every four years and the deletions are anecdotal”.
“We have centers with furniture and teachers, so why pay for a concert when we have the infrastructure and the staff,” laments Ramírez. And he emphasizes that while the subsidized centers are full, the public are turning them into “ghettos.” “The concerted organization argues that it does not have special education resources, so attention to diversity always falls on the public.”
For the CCOO trade union official, the Lomloe calls for a fundamental change in the way students teach and learn. And for this, he assures, “we need a lower ratio because diversity is better attended, doubles are made, cooperative learning is encouraged and the quality of education increases.” That is why he regrets that the drop in the birth rate is not being taken advantage of and units continue to be closed.
“It is the first time in years that more units have been created than suppressed, but we have been suppressing them for so many years that everything that has been destroyed has not been recovered by far,” says Ramírez. “Education is used from a mercantilist point of view, when it is a public good that results in the improvement of present and future society, it is the best investment a country can make“He points out and indicates that, however, Andalusia is one of the autonomous communities that has a greater investment gap and is where there is more school failure and more early dropout.
Guillermo Hernandez Becerra, ANPE
Guillermo Hernandez Becerraprovincial president of APPEAL, reiterates the importance of reducing the number of students per class, something that cannot be achieved by closing classrooms. “If the objective is to obtain a quality education, the most sensible thing is for teachers to be able to teach as individualized and personalized as possible and for this it is essential that the ratio be reduced, in a classroom with 28 or 30 students it becomes quite difficult can attend to individualities and the different forms of learning”, he comments.
And he stresses that from ANPE they have been demanding for years that units in public centers not be suppressed. Even more, it stands out, when there are concerted centers nearby with full classes. “When the school term opens, the logical thing to do would be to first cover the units in the public centers and, in a complementary way, they would later be diverted to the units in the subsidized private centers,” he comments.
Hernández Becerra points out that every year there is remodeling in the public sector that translates into the suppression of units. “As soon as a unit is suppressed in Children, like a domino effect it is affected year after year at the higher levels, and that is already irrecoverable,” he details.
For the provincial president of ANPE, the most coherent thing would be to take advantage of the reduction in the schooling rate due to the decrease in the birth rate and the migratory movement, to “maintain units with a reasonable ratio, it has been a missed wonderful opportunity“, laments.
The problem is the same as always, consider the union leaders. Budget. “But if you don’t invest in education there is no progress, you can’t evolve, what you do is patch up,” he concludes.
Juan Vilchez, UGT
Juan Vilchez, Secretary of Public Education of UGT Málaga, brings another note and it is the creation of new units in classrooms prefab due to lack of planning. At the Isdabe del Mar school, in Estepona, there were already six prefabricated barracks and an extension has been carried out. “Well, in the new wing created, which was going to be used for Infants, there is already a lack of space for a group and the work has just been finished,” says Vilchez.
“When enrollment is reduced, the optimal thing would be to maintain the teaching staff and unity, and approach a higher quality process by lowering the ratio, a fundamental element, even more so at certain ages, due to the direct treatment they require and the special educational needs” , points out.
And he criticizes that “the drop in birth rates is not being taken advantage of to make a modernizing process real”. For Vilchez, the new generation of schoolchildren studies “compacted in very saturated classes where, in addition, it is necessary to assume specific educational support needs”.
In addition, it stands out that closing a unit implies dragging the teaching staff into said closure, from the tutor to the specialist teaching staff. “As units are reduced, there are fewer teaching staff in that center“he warns.