Destinations Magazine

Kindergartens in Barcelona on Strike

By Stizzard


Families, teachers and support staff of local municipal nurseries are on the warpath ever since the Barcelona City Council announced changes to the system.

They have taken to the streets in protest, organized rallies and have collected 25,000 signatures. Since yesterday, Tuesday, there will be three days of planned strikes. There will be however, a minimum service of around one third of the staff of each center along with a member of management staff. It was also announced earlier in the year that there would be an increase in the ratio of teachers to students, a reduction of educational support staff at midday and the outsourcing of the managing of three new nurseries.

Impairment of quality

“It is said that there will be no impairment of quality and everything will be done to maintain it. But the question has been asked is this: how will it be possible not to cause adverse affects if there are more children and less teachers?” asks Lucia Rivas who is a member of the Colectivo de maestros de las guarderías y servicios complementarios municipales de Barcelona, who has organized the protest.

There is also cause for concern over the outsourced management of the schools Jaen, Caspolino and Patufet from the Navas neigbourhood believing that you cannot do business with a public service – the conditions set out establish a profit margin of 10%. This, not only represents zero savings, but it’s a first step towards the privatization of the system and the precariousness of working conditions, which will ultimately affect the quality of service.

Also, these kindergartens will be open from 7:00 a.m to 20:00 p.m (the current 92 kindergartens are open from 08:00 to 17:00). Regarding this, Rivas also states that companies should be obliged to provide a solution and not make the children the scapegoats and pay the price.

“These changes are not cuts due to the economic crisis, but a disguise for a change in the system or model”, complains Cristina Mas, mother of a child who attends the kindergarten school “Londres” and who believes that these nurseries and kindergartens are not like “car parks for children”, but spaces where they learn to eat, sleep and socialize amongst other things.

According to her, it is a question of getting ones priorities straight. The municipal budget allocated is over 2,000 million euros of which only 48 (0.016%) will be destined to nurseries and kindergartens. “The resources would surely be found if the children were made a priority,” she added.


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