Local Daily News 13th September
New school year without masks, lack of teachers and books, and without lunch scholarships
The classrooms of primary and secondary schools throughout the province have received 2,000 more students on the first day of class than last year. From 291,964 enrolled, it has gone to 293,905, the vast majority of Vocational Training and Sixth Form, since the drop in birth has reduced lower enrollment, but for all of them the mask has been banished, except only for those who go by bus to school.
To the banishing of the masks is added that of the prefabricated Braçal de Muro school, after fourteen years of suffering in tin classrooms. The director of the public centre, Ruth Jordà, compares the situation as going from “a hostel to a five-star hotel. “It is a very special day we always discussed when we were going to have the new school and finally we have it. Everyone is very excited, the parents, the teachers and the children”.
To premiere it, it was decorated with a Disney theme and children and teachers have gone the first day dressed up or with accessories of characters from the movies and series “so that children enjoy this start of the year and in a more special way”, concludes the director.
But not everything is joy in this school start. Among the worries is the lack of teachers in a large majority of secondary schools, both ESO and FP. Just one of the institutes in the province, to give an example, has started with up to a dozen teachers less than the organised workforce.
Half are from Secondary, sick leave, a situation that is repeated in hundreds of cases because, as the unions have denounced, the Ministry of Education has not yet included in the allocation of places the lack of continuity or due to illness reported by the centres since 1st September, just after the holidays.
Although both the Minister of Education, Raquel Tamarit, and the regional secretary, Miguel Soler, have stressed that compared to other communities here they have continued to increase the number of teachers even this year, the deficit of teachers found on the first day of class is not compensated in the province with the 337 places that have increased to 28,482 teachers and professors.
The councilor, who went to inaugurate the course at a centre in Valencia, defended her department’s policy in this regard: “If a teacher is missing, it is not due to lack of foresight, I can assure you of that”, affirms the person in charge of the Consell. She and even she has taken the opportunity to ensure that “despite the drop in students in Infant and Primary we want to go deeper into improving educational quality through the stabilisation and increase in teaching staff”.
After assuring that the student body has found “practically complete staff”, and highlighting the fact that this group has increased by 1.2% in the province, gathering 45% of the global increase of 778 teachers throughout the Community, Tamarit has announced regulations to consolidate the increase in teaching staff for the last courses, which in many cases comes through reinforcement plans.
With the interim stabilisation plan established by the Iceta law, Education plans to consolidate the nearly 15,000 teachers in which the workforce has increased since 2015. In order to achieve this, he said, and to continue increasing teachers, “it will be necessary to prepare new regulations that allow it.
The lack of teachers, verified from the educational centres themselves, adds this first day of the course and is even expected throughout the week, to the lack of textbooks.
There are also more shortages of copies in institutes than in schools, but while in Infant and Primary centres they downplay this delay – which the union representatives blame on the delay in publishing the contents of the new curricula that the Lomloe educational law introduces in the odd courses-, because as the directors point out, in the first week of the course it is possible to work without books, in the Secondary schools they deeply regret not having the copies that allow them to start the school project with guarantees.
Tamarit points out that in the event that they are missing in some centres, it is due to “a very specific matter. The normal thing is that they are already or, at the latest, next week. A great effort has been made,” stresses the minister.
But among the deficits with which the course starts, what most distressed families this Monday was knowing if they have a dining room scholarship. Education published this Monday, without the families having been able to organise themselves in advance, the beneficiaries who have obtained points that entitle them to a scholarship.
What is not yet known is the amount that corresponds to each student according to their points, a fact that for parents is not less, as they point out to this newspaper, because it will be what marks the decision whether or not to leave their children in the dining room.
There are families who have already indicated in their centres that if they do not obtain 100% of the aid, that is, the 4.25 euros of the menu per day and child, they will take the students home because their economic level has taken a downturn this year with respect to the previous year’s income, which is what counts for these scholarships.
However, all the directors consulted affirm that they know the families with children enrolled and that, whether the amounts of the scholarship are known or not, all students are allowed to stay for lunch from the first day and later they will arrange the amounts to be paid by their families.
From the ministry they also point out in this regard that in eight years of the Botànic Government, investment in school canteens has increased by 43% and that this has also meant that the beneficiary student body has risen by 75% in this time.
Torrevieja will maintain the suspension of the payment of fees for terraces in 2023
The Torrevieja City Council will maintain the exemption from payment of public road occupation rates throughout the year 2023, as confirmed by the Councillor for the Treasury, Domingo Paredes. The suspension of this municipal tax that affects merchants with exhibitors on the street, but especially hospitality businesses with terraces and street vendors with a licence in markets, has been in force since February 2020, as a result of the covid pandemic and justified by the losses of the closures due to the confinement. Or the decrease in collection due to sanitary measures, such as social distancing, which forced interiors to be closed or tables to be separated on the street.
The councillor pointed out that the health alert has been left behind but that the need to help the hundreds of businesses that occupy public roads continues to exist in the face of difficulties such as price increases, especially energy prices. Initially, the suspension of the payment ordinance was going to be lifted for that year 2023, in something that the councillor of the area, Federico Alarcón, maintained.
Although it was an unlikely decision in an election year with a sector, such as the hotel industry, which has more than 600 businesses in the city, most of them occupying sidewalks or pavements with terraces. Paredes explains that the exemption from payment has been maintained in many large cities and the forecast is that it will also occur during 2023, although the main municipalities around Torrevieja, such as Orihuela or Guardamar, have recovered them.
Torrevieja entered the order of 2.8 million euros for the collection of this rate. So the municipal coffers have stopped entering in the last three years with this suspension of 8.4 million euros, to which the amount from which it comes will be added. More than one and a half million per year corresponded to income from occupying the public thoroughfare with tables and chairs from the terraces, in addition to merchant exhibitors and just under one million to the location of street vendors in the markets of La Mata, Torrevieja and crafts on the Paseo de La Libertad.
Vega Renhace executes 17 of the 28 priority actions marked since the creation of the office
On the day of the third anniversary of DANA in September 2019, the director of the Vega Renhace Plan office of the Consell in Orihuela, Antonio Alonso, has made a balance of the actions framed within the 28 actions that were included among the objectives of this plan that was born as a result of the intense rains. Let us remember, this office was finally created in January 2021 and, according to Vega Renhace’s assessments, of the 28 actions that appear in the plan, a total of 17 have been completed, another 10 are in process and one is in execution and is the one referring to the investment in Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems. In total, the Generalitat Valenciana has invested 33 million euros.
Alonso has also affirmed that many of the actions carried out are things that are not seen and that “everything is not concrete in the works”. Among these actions, the one to urge the Segura Hydrographic Confederation to carry out a comprehensive plan for the Segura River stands out, the first phase of injecting funds into the City Councils to carry out the Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS), 16 million euros, preparation emergency plans and municipal flood plans (810,897 euros), an agreement between the GVA Emergencies and the University of Alicante to create a library of flood risk messages in the Vega Baja, analysis of motorised mobility and actions on the road network of the region, tourism revitalization and governance plan, promotion of residential tourism, sustainable mobility plan for the Vega Baja region, virtual guide for reducing the vulnerability of buildings to floods, among others.
Among the actions that are in process is the permeabilization of the road infrastructures and green hydraulic corridor next to the riverbed (1.1 million euros), urgent action on the N-332 for its permeabilization in the section between La Marina and Guardamar or investment in improving wastewater treatment and reuse for agriculture (6.9 million has been invested). In this sense, an investment of more than 30 million euros has already been planned for the Vega Baja treatment plants.
The European Commission urges the Alicante City Council to promote solutions to end homelessness before 2030
The European Commission strongly condemns any violation of fundamental rights, including any form of discrimination, as it goes against the values on which the EU is based and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. European institution after the question registered by two United Left MEPs in reference to the approval of the controversial begging ordinance of the city of Alicante, in force since the end of March and which includes fines of up to 3,000 euros.
In that response dated September 9th, the European Commissioner for Justice, the Belgian Didier Reynders, recalls that “the Charter is only applicable to Member States when they apply EU Law”, while the controversial ordinance -continues the text- “doesn’t seem to be related”. In such cases, according to the commissioner, “it is up to the Member States, and in particular their judicial authorities, to guarantee respect for the fundamental rights provided for in their national law and in their international commitments”.
But beyond the direct powers of the Commission, Reynder recalls that “in 2021, Spain signed the Lisbon Declaration on the European Platform to Combat Homelessness, which sets the goal of ending the problem of homelessness by 2030, so that no one sleeps rough due to a lack of accessible, safe and adequate emergency accommodation and no one is discriminated against due to the situation of homelessness”.
The Declaration, according to the Commission, “commits national, regional and local authorities to promote the prevention of the problem of homelessness, access to permanent housing and the provision of training services to homeless people.”
In the Commission’s response on the Alicante ordinance, it also points out that “the Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027 recognizes that migrants and EU citizens of migrant origin often suffer direct or indirect discrimination or racism when looking for housing or a job.
In the question, MEPs Manu Pineda and Sira Rego wanted the Commission to go into the background, with issues such as the “assessment of the ordinance and other similar ones that clearly violate human rights in the European Union”. In the body of the question, the MEPs recalled that “in February, the government of the city of Alicante, of the Popular Party and Citizens supported by the far-right party of Vox, approved the Civic Coexistence Ordinance, for which it will be possible to fine with up to 3,000 euros to homeless people and women in prostitution”.
The document, they added, “not only affects these vulnerable people, but also migrants and the LGTBI group”, since, “under the pretext of coexistence, it promotes discrimination in terms of equality, sexual diversity and migration.
In turn, in the question, they point out that “the Hatento Observatory warns that 47% of people in a vulnerable situation have suffered some type of incident or hate crime due to the fact that they do not have a home and that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that “this type of ordinance violated article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights”, on the right to respect for private and family life.
A year and a half after the municipal government of PP and Ciudadanos launched the ordinance against begging and prostitution, the controversial norm, rejected by the left and by social entities, including Cáritas, and criticized even by the bishop, came into force at the end of March.
Among the most controversial, fines of up to 500 euros for the offer of services or products, as long as they have not been demanded by the user, such as tarot, clairvoyance, massages, tattoos, circus or juggling shows, parking indications, ordering and surveillance. of vehicles, windshield cleaning, handkerchiefs, lighters or the like, in public spaces and to people who are inside private or public vehicles, in exchange for an amount of money or donation. You can also fine the indications of parking, organisation and surveillance of vehicles, windshield cleaning.
In addition, you can be fined up to 750 euros for sleeping on the street. Specifically, according to the wording of the approved ordinance, it is punishable “camping on roads and public spaces, an action that includes stable installation in these public spaces, its elements or furniture of tents, stalls, mattresses, vehicles, motorhomes or caravans, except for authorizations for specific places, and it will not be allowed to sleep during the day or at night in these spaces”.
Two and a half months after the controversial ordinance against begging and prostitution came into force, the Barcala bipartisan made a first, and for now last, balance: “94 sanctions have been settled for different uncivil conduct during April and May The agents of the Local Police have processed 80 complaints to valet -also known as “gorrillas”-, four for urinating on public roads and 10 for noise and naked passers-by”.
This meant that the rest of the minutes drawn up by agents of the Local Police, such as the one registered to a woman who asked on Alfonso el Sabio avenue, were not finally processed, despite the fact that the agents resorted to the controversial rule to force the person to get up and stop asking for money. In that start of entry into force, a man was also sanctioned for asking on the Esplanade. Another act of complaint filed that this newspaper has evidence of was in mid-May to a young man with a disability who asked at a traffic light on Avenida de México with the argument that he “hindered” traffic.
At the same time, according to the municipal government, the agents “have informed 51 people who were begging in places of public transit during this period of the social resources provided by the City Council to receive the necessary aid, as well as the availability of a place to spend the night for the first month”. In fact, they continued from the Barcala executive, “the City Council has created a group of the Local Police attached to the Department of Social Action to attend to disadvantaged people.”
Of the fifty homeless people who “have been offered this social aid” in those first two months of application of the ordinance, always according to data from the City Council, “three of them have accepted this support to get out of begging “.
University of Alicante archaeologists discover a Roman villa in Altea
A group of archaeologists from the University of Alicante (UA) has found a Roman site in the Sogai de Altea area. The excavation began at the end of August, as this newspaper published, with the idea of finding an agricultural exploitation during the ancient world in the river plains. However, the remains unearthed confirm that it is a large Roman villa of the high society of the time.
The directors of the intervention, Dr. Juan Francisco Álvarez Tortosa and the Altean archaeologist Alejandro Jesús Pérez Prefasi; the scientific director Jaume Martínez and the professor at the University of Alicante, Jaime Molina, have reached the conclusion that it was a Roman villa due to the organisation and material of the site.
Molina himself explained that “both my colleague Alejandro Pérez and I saw a large number of ceramics on the surface in Sogai and, with the collaboration of the City Council, we decided to survey with georadar. These surveys gave evidence that there were walls, so we excavated and we have found walls, remains of ceilings, columns and bathrooms. Therefore, due to its organisation and material we have the evidence that it is a Roman villa”.
For his part, the Altean archaeologist Alejandro Pérez Prefasi, author of investigations of deposits of the municipality of Altea, has indicated that “now we have the opportunity to know how they lived and took advantage of natural resources in ancient times. But we have to investigate even more, to find out why they were in this place, these first results are very encouraging and will tell us the importance that Altea had at the time”.
The intervention work will last approximately one month and is being carried out by researchers and students from the University of Alicante, as well as volunteers and collaborators. But the work is proving to be very complex because the terraces are abandoned and the archaeologists have had to dig between two and three metres deep in very hard and compacted soil.
In any case, all the experts agree that the site is of great importance for the study of historical and cultural evolution in the Marina Baixa region, “because it is from Roman times, a large villa, with a work yard and with tremar structures”, they highlight.
The mayor of Altea, Jaume Llinares, confirmed during his visit to the excavation that “the remains are from the first stage of the Roman era, approximately from the 1st or 2nd century AD. and from the City Council we have given support to the archaeological intervention works with an agreement with the University of Alicante”. For the first mayor, the excavation has been a success due to the discovery and he deserves more excavation campaigns to know our past and history. We value our heritage with this archaeological intervention and I want to thank the directors of the intervention, the volunteers and the owners of the terraces for their work.”