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Education halts the introduction of laptops in classrooms

The Catalan Minister for Education said that not all the 40,000 students that were meant to start the laptop programme at the next academic course will be able to do so. Although the main reason is due to the economic cutbacks, the Minister said that the are also pending teaching evaluations regarding the use of laptops.

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15 February 2011 10:40 PM

by

ACN / Maria Belmez

Barcelona (ACN) .- The Catalan Ministry of Education announced that the 40,000 students who were to start the next academic year in September using laptops in the classrooms will not do so. It is not yet completely decided whether new students will start the laptop programme known as '1 X1 ', or even if the programme will be completely shut down. The schools that are already implementing the initiative will continue with the programme, but it is not clear if their younger students will start the programme or only those students already uysing the class laptops will do so.  The Catalan Minister for Education Irene Rigau said that the Department for Education was studying the results of this programme from an economical and pedagogical perspective. The Minister made it clear that the economic crisis is to blame for these forced changes in many areas of education. 


One of the most severe measures is the possible dissolving of the programme that brought about the introduction of laptops into Catalan classrooms. According to the Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau, her Ministry is spending up to 50% of education items\u2019 cost, such as laptops, and in times of crisis this quantity may be too much. Because of this, the Minister is currently studying all the initiatives carefully in order to prioritise the most necessary ones. She said that for the moment she had \u2018valid and critical feedback about the \u20181x1\u2019 laptop programme. Next September, 40,000 new students were meant to join the project but this will no longer be feasible. "The new wave that was planned will no longer go ahead\u201D, Rigau said, \u201Cfor the moment, there is nothing more that I can say\u201D. 

New schools stopped

Because of the crisis, the Catalan Ministry of Education has not been able to finish all the schools and high schools projected. Therefore, some parents will have to change their plans for their children\u2019s next school year. According to the Minister, because of the crisis, only the reforms or works in schooling centers that did not require "excessive spending" were able to continue. That\u2019s why some projects have to be postponed. That implies that some students that are currently in prefabricated classrooms will have to stay in these temporary facilities for longer than expected. Rigau said that currently there are over one thousand prefabricated classrooms in Catalonia. However, she emphasised that the most important thing was not the building but ultimately the quality of education and the service provided. In all cases, the Minister for Education promised that all students were guaranteed a place in school and access to education.

It is yet to be decided how the budget cuts will affect counseling. In order to address this issue, Rigau called for the creation of working groups with various stakeholders but announced that all necessary efforts will be required in order to optimize existing resources.

More than 12,000 new school places

The Catalan Ministry of Education offers 1,044,509 places for next year, 12,127 more than this year. Of the total, 711,593 are in public schools and 332,916 in private. Most are primary school (484,968), followed by Secondary School (ESO) (298,300) and infants (261,241). The stage that grows the most places is the number in primary schools, where there are more than 8,000 new places. For new students who join the system to begin their schooling, there are 87,353 nursery places (P3).

Immersion

When asked about the model of immersion, Rigau said the Catalan educational system "is not bilingual\u201D and that the difference between Catalonia and other Spanish communities was that at the end of compulsory school education in Catalonia, students completely dominated two languages: Catalan and Spanish. She reiterated the idea of "respect" to justice but added that there was no ruling that invalidated the Catalan language immersion model and that the Spanish Constitutional Court\u2019s \u201Cmade clear that Catalan was vehicular\u201D and left it up to the Catalan Government to determine what percentage would study in one language or another.

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  • Irene Rigau (left) at the press conference (by O. Vazquez)

  • Irene Rigau (left) at the press conference (by O. Vazquez)