Joan Collins
THE Balearic MP, Eduard Riudavets, yesterday complained about the lack of measures taken by the Balearic Government to prevent and erradicate bullying in schools. He observed that the number of bullying incidents had doubled during this Government's term of office in comparison with the last Government's term.
Riudavets, who maintained that the local Government's education policy is a “failure”, said that during the 2003-4 scholastic year (under the last Government) 250 complaints about bullying were reported, while under the Government there had been more than 575. He questioned the lack of action by the Balearic Ministry of Education to prevent bullying and described as “negative” the Observatory for Scholastic Harmony because it “only” busied itself with organising conferences. With regard to this, Riudavets attacked the Observatory as “merely a bureaucratic tool”, and asked the Minister for Education, Frances Fiol, why there is not more participation in this organisation from parents, teachers and even pupils who, in his judgement, are the most important as they make up the education community. On the other hand, Riudavets complained that the Government is creating “ghettos” with their proposal that parents should be allowed to choose which school their children attend. In answer to all of this, Fiol blamed the rise in bullying, among other things, on the rise in the immigrant population in schools and on the fact that the Balearics is one of the regions which has “more foreigners”. Fiol argued that the Observatory for Scholastic Harmony was still not “consolidated”, it had been started to reduce, detect and prevent bullying in the classroom and showed the Government's “great efforts” to minimise bullying in schools. He also rejected the accusations by Riudavets about Catalan being undervalued, arguing that under this Government the budget for policies to promote Catalan had risen in relation to that set by the last Government. Another MP, Rosa Maria Alberdi, also accused Fiol of wanting to reduce the teaching of Catalan with the “trilingual” decree.

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