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Catalonia Leads the Fight against Socio-economic Segregation at School

Authorities raises awareness about the existence of “ghetto schools”

March 22nd, 2019
Hoëlenn Ayoul-Guilmard, News from Berlin

Catalonia is the first region in Spain to take direct measures in order to tackle socioe-conomic segregation at schools and to try to ensure equal opportunities for all.

In Spain and abroad, there is a global consensus that the school system is flawed by a problem of socio-economic segregation but so far no long-term solutions have been found. However, a few days ago the Catalan authorities signed the Pact against School Segregation  with the general support of the Catalan political community. This document consists of 189 measures to reduce school segregation as well as the creation of an oversight commission meant to ensure compliance with the document’s guidelines.

The triggering event for such measures to be taken was the 2016 report made by Rafael Ribó which mentioned that hundreds of Catalan schools (4.35% of the existing 2,295 and almost double than in 10 years before) had more than half of their student body composed of foreign students, which makes them ‘’ghetto schools’’.  Indeed, Catalonia is, together with the Balearic Islands, the Spanish region with the highest percentage of foreign students, 13.2%.

"The number one problem in education in Catalonia is the lack of equal opportunities", declared Ribó. The main element of this pact is actually to tackle this issue of school fees which goes against the principle of free educational system and prevent all students from having the same opportunities by making financial resources the main criteria. The aim will be to review and keep an eyes of private schools fees to make sure financial criteria are not used to select student and therefore promote a larger socio-economical blending among students.

By doing so, Spain is actually answering an international call from several institutions such the European Commission, the Committee on the Rights of the Child or the UN. In recent years they have urged Spain to review and approve policies that curb school segregation.

References

Berlin Global, News from Berlin