Scholarships, equity and teacher strikes | Article by Xavier Martínez-Celorrio

On March 30 it was opened the state call for scholarships It will remain open until May 12. Unlike other years, the deadline for requesting it has been advanced four months and knowing whether or not the economic requirements are met before enrolling for the 2022-23 academic year. In Catalonia, this important novelty has coincided with successive teacher strikes and is taking a worrying second place. Nobody talks about this.

Although many of the students who are now finishing ESO do not know if next year they will enroll in high school, vocational training, artistic education or official language schools, they can already apply for their right to non-university scholarship. In order to activate demand, it is essential that ESO directorates, teachers and tutors encourage their students to request it, as well as from the social services of the municipalities. Later, they will be asked for more information to process the request. Even, If there are students who doubt whether to abandon the next course, they can apply for the scholarship and knowing that they will have it can encourage them to continue in the system.

Before, the entire process was done in July when the students were already enrolled. Now, the Ministries of Education and Universities continue with the reform of the disastrous Wert-model of scholarships and have managed to advance the call, a historic claim of the student movement. Nevertheless, a powerful media campaign is missing to act as a call to increase the number of scholarship holders and cover the increase in family poverty due to the current crisis. Both ministries will allocate 2,134 million in scholarships next year, 45% more than in the 2017-18 academic year, the last call of the Rajoy government.

A 2019 AIREF report showed that only 13% of university students received information about scholarships in their secondary school. Quite an anomaly. It is convenient to ask what is failing in the educational orientation for this to happen. Moreover, a large part of the teaching staff ignores that the LOMLOE approved the subjective right to a scholarship that obliges the public authorities to grant it when the requirements are met. But that implies that before you have to ask for it and the most vulnerable environments are those with the worst access to information and procedures.

The injection of 386 million in scholarships for the 2020-21 pandemic course translated into a 21% increase in scholarship holders only in high school and vocational training for all of Spain compared to the last PP government. But Catalonia was left out of this progress, it only increased its scholarship holders in those stages by 7% while The Balearic Islands increased by 38%, La Rioja by 36% and Madrid by 32%. Why? It is not because these territories have higher rates of poverty or more social vulnerability, but because here the application for scholarships is not encouraged from the centers themselves or from the Department of Education.

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Neither in the recent teacher strikes has there been an emphasis on demanding effective educational equity policies. It is paradoxical that no union has raised the return of the sixth hour on the public network. Nor has it been claimed to better identify NESE students with socio-economic vulnerability, which is now 6% in primary and ESO when social exclusion among minors is 18.7%, according to Foessa-Cáritas. That is, three times less than what would correspond to the consequent drop in ratios for these groups. Instead, the most corporate decouple ratios from equity, a huge mistake.

Teacher malaise has exploded in Catalonia due to accumulation of fatigue, cuts and clumsiness of the ‘conseller’ Cambray just when there is a curricular reform to apply. But to get out of this loop, not only are job aspirations legitimate. One would also expect a greater demand for effective equity that suffers due to cuts, malpractice and the absence of a coherent and dialogued roadmap

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