A class in Pere Garau, Palma.

A class in Pere Garau, Palma. archive photo.

26-08-2020Teresa Ayuga

The possibility of selective lockdowns in some areas of the Balearic Islands is a major problem for the Education Sector.

The neighbourhoods of Palma, Inca and Llucmajor that are most affected by coronavirus and therefore most likely to be subjected to confinement are also the places that need face-to-face schooling the most, because of economic and social problems, particularly the lack of computers for telematic classes.

The Education Department would have to supply computers and more teachers to make sure students didn’t disconnect from classes.

The unions completely disagree with the way the Education Department has organised the start of the new school term and have already called for a series of walkouts in September.

On Tuesday, the ANPE Union insisted that all schools should be closed if hygiene and sanitary criteria is not up to scratch, but has opted out of strikes proposed by Unió Obrera Balear, or UOB.

The ANPE and UOB have launched a petition and plan to collect signatures from teachers and Parents' Associations.

The ANPE will also table a number of propositions at the next Non-University Docent Personnel Board, for subsequent negotiation at the Sector Board:

The expansion of new physical spaces, with modular classrooms; Reduced ratios of 10-12 students; More teachers in a B scenario; New socio-labour conditions for teachers; A School Nurse for each Centre; Confirmation that teachers will not be held responsible for contagion; Practical and simple training in virtual classrooms and Budgetary information from the Education Department.

The Ministry of Education is reportedly not considering employing a School Nurse for each Centre, but may install Covid ‘phone lines.

“We have not yet received a summons from the Sectorial Table, but everything indicates that we are heading for a B Scenario, or blended stage for 2nd year ESO students, which would force us to negotiate new working conditions for teachers, with more classes at all educational stages and numerous practical problems, because the contingency plans prepared by the Centres were based on a face-to-face scenario,” said Cosme Orell, STEI Public Education Section and President of the Personnel Board.

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