Investment in educational infrastructure in the Balearic Islands has fallen by 87% over six years. In 2010, over 25 million euros were spent on school building, while this year the sum is down to around 3.3 million. While a dozen new schools or an expansion of existing ones featured in the 2010 investment, the spending this year has been on roof repairs, new windows and improving accessibility. Although the maintenance of primary schools is the responsibility of town halls, most of the work has been carried out via the Institute for Educational and Cultural Infrastructure and Services.
Among the most important projects over the past few years has been the Sant Marçal secondary school, which cost over five million euros and came into operation for the 2013-2014 school year. Another major investment has been in the Santa Eulària secondary school in Ibiza, which cost 4.7 million euros. Of minor works, only 82,000 euros were allocated for these in 2011, while the figure has risen to almost 1.5 million this year. This is spend for things such as painting and making minor repairs.
Vicenç Rodrigo, who is the president of FAPA-Mallorca, the federation of parents’ associations, says that matters became critical in 2014 when the federation felt obliged to denounce the state of neglect at some schools. He points out that the federation wasn’t calling for investment for aesthetic purposes but for safety. Far from the situation having improved, believes Rodrigo, “it has got worse”. “The new team at the ministry knows what needs to be done but is not doing so, only talking about first analysing the situation, while time moves on.” He insists that measures have to be taken, citing the collapse of part of a ceiling at one primary school which, only by a miracle, didn’t hurt anyone.
The spokesperson for the Assemblea de Docents (teachers’ assembly), Iñaki Aicart, says that the investment figures “prove that investment in education has not been a priority for government”. “The most common (problems) are leaks or with heating that does not work, and this disrupts teaching.” Furthermore, he asks: “How will there be increases in English classes, as they have promised, if there is no space for them in schools?” To the lack of investment has to be added the issue of modular classrooms, popularly referred to as “bunkhouses”. There are 56 of these in Majorca and a further 37 spread around the other islands.