"It is essential that Canarian teachers be accompanied when implementing the law"

Natalia Álvarez, in her office at the headquarters of the Canary Islands School Council, in Tenerife. / C7

After covid, Lomloe arrives and the president of the Canary Islands School Council, Natalia Álvarez, believes that "society must recognize the effort and commitment of educational centers"

TERESA ARTILES The Gran Canarian palms

Natalia Álvarez (Santa Cruz de La Palma, 1951) has chaired since 2020 the body that represents the whole of the Canarian educational community. He criticizes that the educational law has not been the result of a state pact, talks about how "expensive and ineffective" it is to repeat the course - "we already said it in our 2020 report," he says - and applauds the agreement between the unions and the Government canary to increase teaching staff.

-After two beginnings of courses marked by covid restrictions, it is time to implement the new law. Isn't that too much stress for schools?

-It is a great demand for management teams, for teaching and non-teaching teams. We have seen how in the pandemic they have had great dedication and effort and now we are once again demanding the sacrifice of specifying two laws, because it is not only the Lomloe at a general level, there is also the FP law. We are talking about very profound changes that the centers have to assume again. I believe that society must recognize this sacrifice, effort and commitment.

«We have just received almost 2,000 pages this week to inform about the ESO and Baccalaureate curricula»

-The School Board must issue reports on the new curricula, which are not approved in the Canary Islands. How is the process going?

-The delay of the Ministry has conditioned the regional action in the curricular development of the law, but we want you to know that in June and July we inform about the Infant and Primary curricula. And it was not until this Tuesday that we received almost 2,000 pages to report on the ESO and Baccalaureate curricula. And we like to make reports with seriousness, depth and participation.

- Come on, it's going to be long...

- We will try to do it as dynamically as possible, but we must guarantee the seriousness and active participation of the members of the Council.

-How do you think it will disrupt the centers that there are no definitive curricula?

-I believe that teachers fundamentally need to be informed and trained. Any implementation of a new law, especially with the depth of the curriculum as proposed, must be accompanied by an information plan for the educational community and specific training and accompaniment of teachers. It is fundamental and we have asked both the Ministry of Education and the State School Council in front of the minister. It is essential that teachers feel protected and accompanied, because, I repeat, the law that is proposed is very deep. We would have liked it to have been an educational law resulting from a pact, as was the Canary Islands. We will continue to insist on it, that a state pact is needed. It cannot be that the teaching staff is making the effort to implement a law of this magnitude and is listening at the same time that the law may change in the future. There is no more strategic sector than the education of a country and the formation of citizenship, that is why these laws must be agreed upon.

-The Canarian law establishes reaching 5% of GDP for education. You don't get tired of demanding it.

-What we always insist on, especially at this time when regional budgets are being prepared, is that the 5% of GDP established by law be met. Investment is what guarantees that educational projects and programs are launched and developed with guarantees.

-Why do you think the ambition of the Canarian plan for education from 0 to 3 years is negligible?

-To begin with, it seems fundamental to us that a plan has finally been made. The municipalities have made a great effort these years in the public sphere and we also recognize the private initiative, but it is clear that the offer is insufficient. We want a general offer, but implementing it progressively, that is why we want a calendar to guarantee the public offer, first for vulnerable sectors, but also for conciliation and that mothers and fathers can have their children in school and due to the drop in the birth rate, because offering places from 0 to 3 would help to fix the population in the areas that are emptying

"If we have schools with empty classrooms, let's adapt them for education from 0 to 3 years"

-Do we have to offer these places in the schools that remain empty?

-We propose that in addition to creating new spaces we take advantage of the centers that have been emptied by making the reforms to adapt it to the first cycle of Infant. You have to be effective. If we have schools with empty classrooms, let's adapt them for education from 0 to 3 years. It starts with 34 classrooms, very few, and everything that is started has to be followed up. We will have to listen to these educational communities and these families to make proposals for consolidation and improvement.

-Canarias is one of the communities with the highest percentage of students who repeat. Lomloe changes the way of evaluating so that those figures go down. Do you agree that repeating a year is not good?

-What the Save the Children report has just said, we already said in our 2020 report on the Canarian educational reality, that repetition is not appropriate and is also expensive. Because there is no repetition does not mean that students are not attended, but rather that they need specific attention with reinforcement and support strategies in the following course.

-Part of the 1,600 teaching positions that are consolidated this year on the islands are allocated to these reinforcement tasks. What do you think of the agreement between Education and the teacher unions?

-We are very happy. The agreement to improve the Canarian public system is a very important step forward, expanding the teaching staff increases quality, lowering ratios and paying more attention to diversity

-In their report they applaud the fact that emotional education is extended in Primary but they criticize that it is not in ESO.

-Initially it was included in the Primary and ESO curricula but it ended up disappearing from secondary school. In ESO there is the adolescent age, there are emotional changes at this stage, they are bombarded through social networks and they should have answers and resources at an emotional level, not only in a subject but above all in the tutorial action plans.

-What do you think of the offer of the public universities of the teacher's master's degree?

-A master's degree that enables one to start working in teaching must be staffed with teachers so that there can be places to cover the demand. The few public places we have are not acceptable, because it is a requirement to work in teaching. Not all families have 7,000 euros to pay for the private one.

-End this interview with your letter from the Three Kings for Canarian education in this course that begins.

-The letter begins with the desire that education be considered a fundamental pillar of the social and economic development of the Canary Islands, because training is a social lift, and for this investment is needed and that education strategies are agreed upon, are participatory and move forward with the highest possible quality so that our system gains equity.

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