Joan Collins
THE Balearic education system has 180'000 students this year, more than 20'000 of them foreigners. This takes into account all forms of education from primary school to adult education. The figures confirm the constant growth in the demand for school places in the Balearics in the last few years, according to the director general of Planning and Centres, Rafael Bosch. He said that this has forced the Balearic Government to draw up an ambitious plan to build new schools. He said that during the life of this Parliament plans for 40 new education centres will be put into action. This will include extensions to existing schools where applicable. To explain the difficulty of education planning Bosch said that “between the months of June and October 2005 there were more than 4'000 applications for courses for this academic year and we don´t have places for all of them. This is something which we did not expect”. The number of foreign students is growing year upon year. However, the figures only show students, not individuals, and one person may be registered for more than one course. There were 17'063 students in academic year 2003-4 which grew to 19'023 the following year (2004-5) and to more than 20'000 this year.
Also, according to the figures, in 2003-4 the Balearics had the second largest percentage of foreign students in schools (10.1). This was only exceeded by Madrid with 10.2 percent. However, by the next academic year (2004-5) the Balearics had moved to first place with 11.1 percent, having gained almost 2'000 more foreign students.
By nationality, Moroccans head the list of foreigners with 3'050 students in year 2004-5, followed by those from Ecuador (2'699), then those from Argentina (2'096). There are also 1'763 German students registered, 1'480 Colombians and 1'426 Britons. These are the top six foreign nationalities, but there are also students from other countries of the world.

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