Cambray gives in: schools may wait another year to apply new syllabus
Minister assures he has president's support and rules out resigning
BarcelonaAt the beginning of the second of industrial action planned in schools, Catalan Education minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray has appeared to announce that schools will be allowed to postpone changes to the curriculum across primary and secondary school. The Catalan Government will pass the decrees but schools will be able to decide whether to apply the changes in September 2021, or wait until next year.
Cambray was to appear at the Education Salon, where dozens of teachers were waiting for him to express their indignation; instead, he spoke from the Department's headquarters. From there he assured that he understands the "commotion and discomfort" the curriculum changes have caused, which he has recalled have been "imposed" by the Spanish government: "It is not the department who decides to makes changes for next year". Cambray has also assured that he has the support of Catalan president Pere Aragonès and has ruled out resigning: "I am at the service of the president and the country to respond to the improvement of the Catalan education system and this involves making decisions".
As for the strikes, Cambray wanted to send a message of "tranquility" to families: "Any students who want to can go to school". He has also admitted that the industrial action, which yesterday was seconded by 33.05% of staff in state schools according to the Department's data and organised one of the largest teachers' demonstrations in recent years, shows "the teachers' fatigue".
The minister defended, in this sense, that the Department will take into account this "fatigue" and has already begun to respond to "historical demands" that led the unions to strike: teacher/student ratios will be brought down, contracts be made more long term (including calls for competitive examinations to access the civil service) and increased financial resources for vulnerable students.
According to Department data, the second day of industrial action is being seconded by 14% of state school workers and 7% of chartered school workers.