Education minister Martí March, speaking on Thursday.

16-04-2020IB3

On Thursday, the Balearic education minister, Martí March, reiterated what had been agreed on Wednesday by the national and regional ministries: that pupils passing their school year will be the norm and that repeating the school year will be an "exceptional measure", for which there will need to be a justification and a precise "recovery plan" for any pupil who has to repeat.

March said that the first term of the 2020-2021 school year will need some adaptation to compensate for any learning not fulfilled during the current term. There will also need to be reinforcement of this term's schooling. He added that protocols will be required for a "recovery course and return to normality". "An educational reinforcement programme will be needed, as the student should not be the one affected by this situation."

He added that the school calendar is being maintained except for Baccalaureate pupils whose classes will end on 19 June in preparation for the university entrance exams that are scheduled for 7 to 9 July in the Balearics.

The minister stressed that everything has been done to ensure that no pupils are left behind. The "connectivity of schools" for schoolwork to be done at home has, for example, included providing Chromebooks to families who do not have digital devices.

Once more stating that passes for the school year should be at a maximum, March explained that third-term assessments, based on previous ones, should not mean a lowering of grades but rather a raising to take account of the "exceptional situation". Teaching teams will carry out the final assessments of pupils, "as they know their progress and their difficulties", taking into account the first two assessments and third-term assignments.

On the possibility that there might be classes before the end of the school year, March noted that the only face-to-face classes to have been definitively ruled out so far are those at the university. "Apart from this, I don't consider anything to have ended; it will depend on the national health ministry." He made clear that a return to classes will "not be like they were", but he didn't wish to speculate on what measures may be adopted in order to avoid the spread of coronavirus. "We will have to do what the health ministry tells us."

During the Wednesday videoconference of regional education ministers, an idea that was floated was one for there to be some days of return to school before the end of the school year in June, but for these to be mainly "symbolic" in allowing pupils and teachers to meet.

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