The regional government once again avoids the ‘Celaá law’ and avoids marking school zones for the next student admission process
The regional government remains determined to boycott the application of the ‘Celaá law’ in the region to maintain the single district, which in practice allows parents to enroll their children in the school they want regardless of where the family home is located. The new decree of admission of students, which will be the one that will govern this year for the enrollment of the next school year, does not establish school zones, and leaves the door open to maintain the single district in each municipality. The decree has been drawn up so that, in the form, it complies with the provisions of the law, since it awards points in the scale for proximity to the center, but does not establish new school zones; in this way, all students in a municipality will continue to have the same points. Thus, the proximity to the school, which the ‘Celaá law’ wanted to impose as a priority criterion to facilitate a heterogeneous distribution of students, ceases to have weight in practice. The objective of the law, which did not specify how these zones should be established, is thus deactivated.
It was admitted yesterday by the Minister of Education, Mabel Campuzano, during the presentation of the great figures of the school year that begins on Monday in the Region, the earliest in Spain together with La Rioja.
The return to school of the ‘new normal’, with the vast majority of teachers and a good part of the students over 12 years old (almost 80%) already vaccinated, starts on Monday for some 100,000 Kindergarten and Primary students from 21 municipalities , including Molina de Segura, Alcantarilla, Caravaca and Yecla. The rest of the students, until completing the 280,000 that this course are enrolled in all the educational stages, will gradually be incorporated into the classrooms from Tuesday 7 (when those of Murcia and Cartagena begin, among others) and until the 15 of September.
The census of students has accused this course more harshly the sharp fall in the birth rate, which has been ’emptying’ the lower-level classes for years. A trend that, Campuzano announced yesterday, leads the Ministry of Education to consider the closure of classrooms, a measure that would be faced with opposition, unions and families, who have been demanding for years that all units be maintained even if schoolchildren are reduced to reduce so de facto the ratios. “We will have to get used to the fact that we are going to see in the future that maybe we have to close classrooms in those stages. We will have to adapt and optimize resources, “Campuzano warned yesterday.
In Early Childhood Education 2,140 fewer schoolchildren were enrolled this year than last year (-5%), and in Primary the decrease was estimated at 1,476 kids (-1.5%). Given these figures, the Minister of Education warned that in the coming courses “classrooms could be closed. Where there are no students, units will have to be closed; this year almost all of them have been maintained, but if there are no schoolchildren, classrooms will be closed, “he said. A decision contrary to the demands of the school community, which understands that the decrease in the birth rate constitutes an opportunity to lower the ratios. The decrease in the number of students is only an advance of what is to come, according to the figures of those born in the last three years, which are the minors who will be incorporated into the classrooms from the next year.
The average student ratios for this course, the counselor congratulated yesterday, are below those set by state regulations. According to their figures, in Infant the average does not reach 20 students per classroom; in Primary they are 21.7; in ESO 26.3; and in Baccalaureate 31.2. These averages do not prevent the number of students per classroom in the most demanded schools in urban municipalities from far exceeding that figure, and it is common to find, for example, 27 schoolchildren in a nursery classroom.
The main novelty of the new course is precisely the recovery of normality, with total presence for students of all educational stages on a daily basis after a year and a half with restrictions. Students of all educational levels will resume, after four months with the classrooms closed and a full course taking turns to go to the educational center, the full presence from the first day of class. This is established by the joint order of the Ministries of Education and Health.
Full class attendance will be guaranteed throughout the academic year in Infant and Primary and in 1st and 2nd of ESO, regardless of the level of health alert in which the Region is. The blended presence would only be applicable from 3rd year of ESO in the event that Murcia enters a health alert level 3 or 4 (which are the highest; currently we are at 2, which is medium) and «previous recommendation of the health authorities”.