The center begins its new academic year on Monday pending being subjected to expansion works
The Official School of Languages of Cáceres opens the academic year on Monday with a new director and free places in all its languages, English included. This phenomenon is surprising if the situation is looked at with some perspective and those times are remembered when many applicants did not manage to enter the center. Now the reality is another.
What does not change is the old aspiration of the school, located on Gómez Becerra street, to grow. The Junta de Extremadura, owner of the center, has planned its expansion, but it seems that the project still has a long way to go to become a reality.
Fortunato Castro Piñas has been in charge of the School of Languages since July 1. English teacher and former head of studies, he takes over from Pilar Mayoral. He is at the head of a management team that also includes Cristina Galindo as secretary, María Dolores Domínguez as the new head of studies and José Manuel Galán as assistant to the head of studies.
Yesterday, Friday, the open enrollment period for those new entrants in the face-to-face modality ended. Enrollment in the distance mode in English (That’s English course) can continue to be formalized throughout the month of October as long as there are places available. However, the school does not completely close the possibility of admitting new students to its center in person on a case-by-case basis. The most demanded time slot is the one that goes from six to eight in the afternoon.
Fortunato Castro gives three reasons to explain why the School of Languages starts the course with vacancies in all the languages (although not at all times or at all levels) that it teaches: German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and English.
The new director, along with two members of the management team. /
On the one hand, in recent years the workforce has been reinforced, which has meant that more shifts can be offered. On the other hand, there is the rise of distance learning. «In the face-to-face modality there are more vacancies because the distance modality has grown a lot. This is so because people are increasingly used to using new technologies, especially since the pandemic, “says the director. During the past academic year, the school had 368 distance learning English students. Nearly 1,200 students studied this language in its classrooms.
Added to the increase in teachers and the rise of distance learning is a third factor: the opening of assigned classrooms. The operation of these classrooms in five towns –Alcántara, Alcuéscar, Miajadas, Malpartida de Cáceres and Trujillo– has meant that students who previously enrolled in the school in Cáceres stay in their towns. This situation that has allowed ‘release’ places for other applicants.
However, it must be remembered that language schools have lost a third of the students in their centers over the last five years in Extremadura, according to data provided a year ago by the Ministry of Education.
Another novelty of this course is that the classes will be held in full attendance after the restrictions of the last two years due to the pandemic. And, in addition, the assigned classroom of Alcántara will reinforce its offer of Portuguese while in Trujillo a new level of English (A1) will be taught.
From the management of the center insists that the expansion is still necessary. «Our current offer can only cover regulated education. But we are limited in the offer of other types of teaching, such as monographic courses. If we had enough space, we could have more offer in the time slot from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., which is the most demanded, and also offer some training for professional groups that work, for example, in hospitality and tourism”, summarizes Castro. Also, he adds, it would allow blended teaching and the incorporation of new languages, such as Chinese or Arabic.
The reform of the Gómez Becerra building is budgeted at 1.7 million euros but the start of the works does not seem to be too close. The project contemplates going from occupying two floors to four in the same building. The school will incorporate the facilities currently occupied by the Center for Teachers and Resources (CPR), which will be transferred to the IES Universidad Laboral. And this transfer has not yet taken place.
“Until the CPR is moved, the works of the School of Languages cannot be carried out” is exposed from the Ministry of Education. This transfer is included within a “macroproject” that includes other interventions in the Laboral and whose budget amounts to six million euros. «The works project for this macro action is currently in the contracting phase. We hope that it will be awarded in the next few days, ”calculates Education, which refuses to give specific deadlines on the start of works in the school but points out that progress is still being made in the previous procedures.
An English teacher at the head of the headquarters with more regional pull
Fortunato Castro Piñas is the new director of the Official School of Languages of Cáceres, a center to which he has been linked since 1999 as an English teacher. He has been head of studies during the last courses. He is from Aldeacentenera.
«I would like to maintain the quality that the Official Language School has had and continues to have. It has been fortunate to have very good management teams. I would also like to keep our teachings updated. And as far as possible I would like to get some other language », she advances. According to a survey carried out by the center during the past year among its students to detect which language was most in demand for its future implementation in the center, the two most requested languages were Chinese and Arabic.
The center of Cáceres is the one with the largest number of students in the entire region. During the past year it had 2,157 students (at its headquarters in Cáceres, its assigned classrooms and the distance modality). Registration costs 77 euros for new students and 56 for old ones.
IES, Junta de Extremadura, Alcuéscar, Alcántara, Aldeacentenera, Extremadura, Malpartida de Cáceres, Miajadas, Trujillo, Cáceres, Education and coronavirus
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.