Sat. Feb 29th, 2020

The higher schools have 100% occupancy again

After suffering the economic crisis that led them to an occupation of around 70% in 2014 and gradually recovering, the colleges notice a significant increase in the number of applications and return to a "majority" occupation of 100% .

He said it in an interview with Efe Nicanor Gómez Villegas, president of the Council of University Major Colleges of Spain, which includes 125 centers with 17,000 students from 24 universities.

On hazing, so related at the beginning of the year with these university residences, Gómez Villegas is firm: "Behind a hazing there is an act of imposition against the will of the 'rookie', although this is sometimes done as a joke or activity integrative. "

QUESTION: Why live in a college at the university stage?

ANSWER: University training is essential for the personal and professional development of students and key in future society. We offer a model of special singularity and relevance at a crucial moment of training.

We are citizenship schools, learning communities where being a university is much more than going to class, taking notes, studying, passing subjects and finally obtaining a degree. We contribute to the integral formation of our schoolchildren by completing the training received in the classrooms with courses of all kinds.

The society demands to the university students a whole series of competitions that often are not obtained in the classrooms, that by means of the coexistence and the activities of formation are obtained in a privileged way in a greater school.

Q: Has the end of the economic crisis been noticed?

A: We offered multiple facilities (scholarships, discounts on school fees, flexibility of payment) during the crisis years so that those schoolchildren who wanted to live in one of our institutions did not stop doing so for economic reasons, and for about three or Four years we have noticed a significant increase in the number of applications.

Mostly the major schools are at 100% occupancy.

Q: What is the profile of the university student residing in a college?

A: We are very heterogeneous, reflecting the very plurality of today's society, so we cannot speak of a specific university profile that resides in our institutions. We have schoolchildren, young people from 18 to 24 years old, of all socioeconomic profiles, coming from most of the Spanish regions and students from all university careers.

Q: Older and hazing schools seem to be unfortunately still synonymous.

A: We express our strongest condemnation of any type of activity of the so-called hazing. In addition to prosecuting them with disciplinary and legal measures, we believe that educational and reflective measures must be worked towards young people who have normalized certain types of situations that are unacceptable for a democratic society.

Behind a hazing is an act of imposition against the will of the "rookie", although this is sometimes done as a joke or integrative activity, and this must be explained and denounced clearly.

Our commitment is to continue working to eradicate them from the University and of course from the major schools.

Our experience says that in order for them to disappear, it is necessary for university students and colleges to get involved in their eradication, as has already happened in some major schools in Madrid, and in that direction the management teams of our centers are working.

Q: Do you have protocols to raise awareness against sexist violence or other issues that matter to young people?

A: Of course. Our training projects are articulated during the course through all kinds of activities. A good number are related to current issues that concern young people such as sexist violence, feminism, bullying, respect for diversity, ecology or the environment.

Q: Are new major schools created?

A: New ones have been created and some historical ones have been reopened. This is the case of the Colegio Mayor of the University of Cádiz, which reopened last year, or of the Colegio Mayor Francisco de Sande de Cáceres, which will do it next year.

On the other hand, unfortunately, in recent years various investment funds have appeared on the scene that, for purely speculative reasons and in no case educational, have opened hotel-type centers throughout Spain to those who have self-conferred, without having any power to this, the condition of "university college."

They do not, however, meet any of the attributes and requirements necessary for this: constituted as non-profit entities, which have a project and training purpose and are attached to a university. This is generating a significant distortion of the ends and rationale of our institutions, not to mention a blatant unfair competition.

Q: What do senior colleges do in summer?

A: They continue to provide an important service to the educational community trying to accommodate students or professors who go to universities for academic reasons. In addition, it helps us to ensure the sustainability of the schools, since our expense items occupy twelve months and our schoolchildren live with us for around nine months.

Pilar Rodríguez Veiga

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