98% of public schools ready to host afternoon activities during September
Catalan education minister confirms starting the academic year earlier and only having morning classes will not affect students
Catalan public schools are getting ready for a new academic year, which will start one week earlier than usual in September. 98% of education centers managed by the Catalan government are ready to host afternoon activities during the first month after the summer holidays.
Catalan education minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray confirmed in an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that around 1,702 contracts have been signed for centers to be able to have these activities, as preschool and primary students will only have lessons in the morning in September.
The department of education, back in February when the measure was announced, confirmed that children will be able to stay in school in the afternoon at no cost to families.
With these contracts, Cambray has argued that claims that schools would not be ready, were not real. In the vast majority of cases, those in charge of the lunch period will stay longer to lead the afternoon activities.
"We will give all options to students that wish to stay, so it is free and they have people that look after them," the minister said.
The 2022-2023 academic year will begin on September 5 for those between 3 and 12 – preschool and primary school –, and on September 7 for those in secondary school, Batxillerat pre-university programs, and professional training courses. This affects all schools, including public, public-private, and private.
It means school will start one week earlier than its usual dates in the past decades.
With this shift, the Catalan government aims to help the work-life balance of families and "narrow the gap between courses." Equal opportunity among kids is also sought since the lowest-income families cannot afford certain summer activities.
Classes will start from 9 am until 1 pm, and afternoon activities will be organized between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm.
Regarding the number of children planning to attend afterschool activities, so far, the department has not confirmed anything yet. They consider it did not make sense to ask families in June their intentions in September, therefore they will ask parents after the holidays.
However, school centers have hired enough workers to have a ratio of 16 students per group leader.