Monday, March 27

Parents denounce that the concerted organization violates the law by imposing quotas

Several children from a concerted school. / CR

76% of the 326 schools investigated in seven autonomies force families to pay a monthly payment of between 38 and 191 euros on average, according to a report from the national federation

Alfonso Torres

The absolute majority of Spanish concerted schools violate the law by forcing parents to pay fees for the education their children receive in the compulsory stages, those that go from Primary to ESO, as denounced today by the vice president of the Spanish Confederation Associations of Parents of Students (Ceapa), Leticia Cardenal, and the general director of the national association of private schools (Cicae), Elena Cid.

The number two member of the confederation that represents 12,000 public school parent associations recalled that, by law, concerted education must be free – it cannot require direct or indirect disbursements – and that payments for complementary school activities or the centers – to be carried out outside school hours – must be voluntary and never discriminate against the students.

Ceapa and Cicae made this accusation after carrying out a study in 326 concerted schools of seven autonomies (Andalusia, Aragon, Catalonia, the Valencian Community, Galicia, the Basque Country and Madrid) which concludes that 90% of the centers charge families a base fee monthly for children to attend the education subsidized by the State in its facilities and that these payments are mandatory in 76% of cases, “contravening the Organic Law of the Right to Education, which protects free compulsory education in centers supported with public funds.

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The study, carried out by the Garlic B2B company, whose researchers went to schools last spring posing as parents asking for information to enroll their children in this course, clarifies that the required amounts that are now reported were claimed exclusively for complementary activities and for reinforcing teaching, since they do not include the possible prices and costs of dining or transport.

The consultant’s project director, Amparo Nuñez, reported that “we had difficulty obtaining information that clearly indicated to families the rates and contributions they had to make, in terms of what they are charged and the hours or content that justify their payment. In some cases we had to insist on up to ten occasions to the school to get the data, in others they gave us very complete commercial information, but they did not include that of the fee, and in 44% of the centers they did not manage to give us any document with the prices of the complementary quotas».

Big differences

The analysis details the money that these schools demand from families in seven autonomous communities, with great disparity in amounts, ranging from zero euros (only a handful of centers) to 923 euros per month. The highest average fees are in Catalonia (191 euros), the Basque Country (160) and in the Community of Madrid (119). The average price is lower in Aragón (38), Galicia (38), Andalucía (42) and Comunidad Valenciana (74). In almost half of the cases, the required payment is 100 euros per month or more. The Garlic researcher also warned that “the study focuses on the second cycle of Infants, to guarantee the comparability of the results, although in higher stages this share increases.”

The most worrying thing, the three complainants agreed, is that the investigation detected that in 18% of the cases there is a risk of exclusion or discrimination for the student whose family does not pay the fee, a figure that increases to 31% in the facilities visited in the Community of Madrid. In these centers, the student would not be able to attend complementary activities with the rest of the students, so the family would have to pick them up beforehand or they would be isolated from the group in another area of ​​the school.

Nothing changes

Leticia Cardenal showed her surprise, «one more year, before the passivity of the educational administrations, which are complicit in the fact that year after year the concerted centers continue to do business with the fees that, in some cases directly and in others covertly , force families to pay, who are unprotected ».

Elena Cid affirmed that it is already indisputable that the concerted ones charge obligatory quotas to the families. «We expected a change, because the Lomloe (the new educational law) expressly prohibits it in its article 88. But the law is not being complied with. They charge fees for contributions, educational projects or mandatory complementary activities within school hours and, in addition, they do so for essential curricular content.

Cid demands that “the inspection ensure compliance with the law, that the educational administration does not annually authorize schools to charge these lucrative fees and that the right of families to free compulsory education be guaranteed.”

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