Catalan students head back to school

Catalan students are back to the books, or in some cases, laptops. The 2010-2011 school year began this morning with over 1,200,000 students and 88,467 teachers back in the classroom.

CNA / Sarah Garrahan

September 7, 2010 11:08 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- 1,241,958 students in Catalonia headed back to school today. At 9 a.m. this morning, 3,170 learning institutions were once again filled with students. A total of 88,467 teachers headed classrooms all over the country. The school year began with significant changes for about 100,000 1st and 2nd year secondary school students (ages 12-14). Their textbooks of past years have now been replaced with laptops. The year will also have a new school calendar, with re-scheduled summer and winter holidays.

The number of pupils has increased this year by 25,325 students. The percentage of newcomers will stand at about 13% this year, indicating a decrease for the second consecutive year. The record in the figures is explained by the 40,000 students registered for the Institut Obert de Catalunya (online secondary school for all ages) and the 6,000 student increase in vocational education this year. The increase in students registered for vocational education courses, with 122,059 students. The Institut Obert de Catalunya will offer vocational training courses to over 20,000 students from around Catalonia this year.

The education service of Catalonia calculates 88,467 full-time teachers: 67,054 teachers from public centre and 21,413 teachers in the private-public sector (private centres with public funding). There are also 63,520 teachers working in the 837 infant centres of Catalonia.

The Catalan Ministry of Education invested 315 million euros to open learning centres in 2010-2011. Work has been carried out in 75 education centres with 37 new constructions and 38 full renovations. Reform works have been done in 407 education centres throughout the year with a 21 million euro investment. There have also been updates in around a dozen educational centres with a 12 million euro investment.

This school year will be the first for 11 new primary/secondary schools. The primary/secondary centres benefit students in that they will not have to change schools or travel to another town to complete their secondary education.

The number of places in public infant centres for the 2010-2011 year is 63,520. There are 837 public nurseries in Catalonia, triple the amount since 2004. These new places have been created thanks to collaboration between the Catalan Government and the various town halls that wished to participate in the initiative to create and consolidate the public offer.