Society 23/09/2021

Concern lingers on: there is still no data on how many students have been left without a VET spot

According to certain estimates, around 800 students have been left out

3 min
Deciding one's professional future in the midst of a pandemic.

BarcelonaThe year has already started for Vocational Education and Training (VET) students, but it is still unknown how many applicants have been left without a spot. Consulted by the ARA, the Education Dpt explains that they are still collecting enrolment data and they expect to have more or less definitive figures next week. It will be the moment to see how many students have not found a place, but also how many have ended up enrolling at the last minute at the Institut Obert de Catalunya (IOC), the emergency solution found by the Catalan Government so that young people who do not enter the two most sought-after degrees can study telematically. For now, the rest are impressions. Thousands of families waited until last Friday to find out if their children had a spot in one of the 6,539 vocational training places that the Government created in an extraordinary way in the face of the very strong increase in registrations, which exceeded all forecasts. Most of the families that the ARA spoke to during the anguished wait have found a place, but this newspaper is aware of several cases of young people who are at home, without studying, because they have no space in any of the institutes they wanted to go to.

Montse's son is one of these cases. After a "weak" secondary school, marked by a late diagnosis of an attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in 3rd of ESO, the boy is very clear that he wants to study Guidance in the Natural Environment and Leisure Time at the Institut Santa Eulàlia in Terrassa. "What motivates him is sport. He doesn't want to enter any of the other course", explains Montse. In the first call he was on the waiting list with 28 people ahead of him, and in the second call he hasn't had any luck either. "We have nothing. He is at home", regrets his mother, who says that the last information she has received is that there would be 800 more students without a spot, but she does not know if they are from Terrassa, from the counties of Barcelona or from all over Catalonia. Trade union sources consider this estimate to be correct for Catalonia as a whole. Even so, the figure could go down depending on enrollments at the IOC. In fact, the initial calculations of the unions spoke of 20,000 students without a spot, but the department never admitted this figure on the grounds that in the registration period there could still be many changes, as it seems to have ended up happening.

They also expect these data in l'Hospitalet de Llobregat. In a statement, the municipal team has reproached that "the lack of foresight" of the Government "made 1,300 young people in the city be left without a place". In the second call, Education opened "half a group more in the city", that is, 15 spots, far from enough to accommodate all those who wanted to study. But in the second city of the country they do not know "how many applications they have been able to finally meet".

Christian schools say the Government rejected the extra places they offered

In this sense, the Fundació Escola Cristiana, which groups 434 Catalan centres, has reproached the Government for rejecting its offer to increase the number of places they offered. In a communiqué published in its bulletin, the FECC recalls that they asked all the centres of the group about the availability of places and that they passed this information on to the department in order to "be part of the solution". "It is incomprehensible that the number of subsidised units is not being increased and the expectations of people who wanted to broaden their training are being frustrated. The subsidised sector is the Education Service of Catalonia, it educates a third of the pupils in Catalonia and has responsibilities in education", they state in the text. The Christian schools also recall that the European Union is committed to seeking "balances and formulas for public-private collaboration to preserve the public interest". "The opposite means leaving thousands of people who wanted to study without an alternative and who will now be left out of the system", they say.

More organisations have demanded a "substantial increase in the supply" of vocational training. In a press conference, Marc Unitari de la Comunitat Educativa, a platform that brings together unions (UGT, CCOO, the USTEC or the Intersindical, among others), youth organisations and entities linked to education, such as Rosa Sensat or the Federació de Moviments de Renovació Pedagògica, has demanded that the VET supply has to be "sustained over time, well planned, sufficient, that responds to people's needs, territorial and sectoral, and based on public provision and face-to-face attendance". "The offer has to be oriented towards empowering young people to access the world of work and not to generate precarious and vulnerable labor", they added.