THREE out of every four students (340 out of 450 pupils) in the Gabriel Alzamora school in Palma are foreigners, some 75.4 percent.
These are the figures which the school has at the moment, “because during the school year we are constantly receiving foreign students”, said the headmistress, Coloma Ferrer. According to the latest figures released by the Balearic Ministry of Education the Palma Polytechnic also has a high number of foreign students, with 293 foreign students out of a total of 1'100. With regard to the number of countries represented in schools, the Francesc de Borja Moll secondary school has students of 87 nationalities, followed by the Juniper Serra school, with some 69 nationalities represented. This mixture of languages and cultures puts the Balearics among the top regions which have the most foreign students in general education, with 13.5 percent of the total. At the moment, the Balearic education system has 20'591 foreign students in all levels of education, to which must be added another 1'056 in specialist subjects (art and music), and 2'325 more in adult education. The nationalities which are most represented in the classrooms are the Moroccans, with 3'936 students, 16 percent of the total foreign students, Argentineans (11 percent), and Ecuadorians (another 11 percent), who in very few years have displaced the Germans and British, who were previously the majority but now represent only eight and five percent respectively of the total. But the distribution of students in the various schools on the islands continues to generate controversy.
And the headmistress of the Gabriel Alzamores school is, without doubt, an authoritative voice on the subject. “The day to day routine in our school is good, we have an organisation based on an integration project and we do not have any more problems with integration or learning than other schools,” she said. However these results do not happen by themselves and are “the result of a great effort on the part of the teaching staff, who overcome the difficulties by being well prepared,” she added.