The President of the Andalusian Regional Government, Juanma Moreno, has announced that the Andalusian Government is going to allocate 20 million euros to help families with fewer resources with a school cheque of 100 euros for each son or daughter attending compulsory education. He explained that this cheque can be applied for by families with an annual income of less than 15,000 euros and that it is expected to reach some 200,000 Andalusian students in primary, secondary, basic vocational training and special education.
Moreno attended the inauguration of the school year at the new nursery and primary school in the Granada municipality of Alhendín, a school that has been in demand for two decades and which has now become a reality.
This centre has received an investment of more than 3.6 million euros, will accommodate more than 300 students and has modern infrastructures and all the services. “It is an example and symbol of the important and constant investment effort we are making to modernise and improve our facilities,” he added.
The commitment of the Andalusian Executive with Education is firm as reflected in the investments and works that are being carried out in different centres and as an example of this he has referred to the Ogíjares, whose investment amounts to 3.7 million euros or the new IES Maracena with 4.3 million. “In total, in this province, we have completed or in execution for this academic year 56 works for 17.1 million euros, twenty of them within the Bioclimatisation and Renewable Energy Plan deployed last term”.
The Andalusian President pointed out that more than 570 works worth 150 million euros will be completed during this academic year, benefiting around 230,000 students, while he also stated that the roadmap of this government is to strengthen and modernise the education system with the greatest possible determination.
In this way, he indicated that education is the best investment for training new generations of Andalusians in knowledge and critical awareness, and stressed that there is no more strategic policy that has as much impact on the present and the future as one that is built from the ground up.
In this sense, he stressed that this will always be a priority for the Andalusian Government, as demonstrated by the facts, and that in recent years the investment commitment has been increased on all fronts to move towards a model in which equal opportunities is a very present maxim. “There are data that corroborate that we are making progress. One relevant indicator is that we have reduced the early school dropout rate by 4.4% to 17.7%, which is the biggest reduction in twenty years”.
He also referred to a key pillar of education, namely teachers, and stressed that this academic year, despite the fact that there are 15,000 fewer pupils in pre-school and primary education due to the drop in the birth rate, there are more classrooms and the largest permanent teaching staff in history, with 124,000 teachers in the public and state-subsidised networks. “This year we will have around 5,000 more teachers despite the fact that there are fewer children. Andalusia has opted to maintain most of last year’s reinforcements, up to 80%, despite the pandemic being behind us”.
In this way, he pointed out that, if there are fewer children in the classrooms, but the teaching staff continues to increase each year, the consequence is that the ratio falls, so that we can affirm that, as of today, we have the lowest average ratios in history.
In terms of the number of units and despite the low birth rate, he stressed that there has once again been significant overall growth with an important focus on special education with 243 more units.
Moreno, who defined teachers as the main axis of the quality of the system and the most precious resources and those who have the greatest impact on the education of children and young people, recalled that for two decades they have been suffering a significant disadvantage compared to the national average. This is a long-standing issue that the Andalusian government is going to resolve through the salary increase agreed with the unions, which will begin to be applied this month.
On this point, he lamented the worrying situation we are facing with the shopping basket or the high price of gas and electricity that affects the daily lives of Andalusians. For this reason, he reiterated that the Andalusian Government will do everything in its power to act and help those who need it most by maintaining measures such as the free textbook programme with an average saving of 200 euros for the families of 940,000 students.
In addition, this year there will be 33 more schools with a morning class and 16 more with the canteen service that covers the nutritional needs of more than 210,000 children in more than 2,000 public schools. In addition, this year there will be a total of 320 more canteens with on-site kitchens, bringing the total to 500.
With regard to Vocational Training, he pointed out that this Legislature is going to bring about a revolution in this respect because “Vocational Training can and must be the key to generating much more youth employment and an absolute priority in a community like ours”.
He explained that this academic year will see the largest number of places in the history of vocational training in Andalusia with a total of 158,219 new places and 236 new qualifications and specialisation courses focused on what companies are demanding.
To conclude, he referred to Dual Vocational Training, a booming demand with very interesting professional opportunities, and highlighted the involvement of some 8,300 companies and 772 projects. Companies which, he said, “teach the students, many of whom end up being hired and for whom job opportunities open up”.
The President of the Regional Government was accompanied by the Regional Minister for Educational Development and Vocational Training, Patricia del Pozo; the Regional Minister for Development, Territorial Planning and Housing, Marifrán Carazo; the Government Delegate in Granada, Antonio Jesús Granados; and the Mayor of Alhendín, Francisco Pedro Rodríguez.