As a government delegate in Aragon, she dedicated herself to building bridges with Spain. In July she was recruited by Pedro Sánchez to build those same bridges with the educational community. Trained in teaching and with a marked socialist profile, Pilar Alegría, Minister of Education and Vocational Training (Zaragoza, 1977), defines herself as “a woman from the provinces”. And he says it with pride. The same one with whom he talks about his 8-year-old son.
– Last year, schools were one of the few safe spaces against the covid. What balance do you make of the current course?
“Also satisfying.” Of the 417,000 classrooms in Spain, only 0.09% are confined right now.
–There are scientific voices, not just political ones, that call for the removal of the mask in outdoor activities in schools. What is the position of the Ministry?
– Throughout the pandemic, prudence has been a great ally. At this time, the norm says that boys and girls must wear a mask outdoors when the distance of 1.5 meters cannot be respected. We must continue to guarantee face-to-face education, but also that schools are safe spaces. We must not lower our guard. Children under 12 years of age are also not vaccinated.
– When the European authorities approve it, will you vaccinate your child?
-Of course. And I will do it with pride. The same pride with which I was vaccinated and my mother was vaccinated. Immunization has been one of the most effective tools to protect us. When the guideline was enabled from the age of 12, the response was massive.
– Let’s talk about the Celaá law, the LOMLOE. Should concerted education be a subsidiary network of the public one?
– Education is a matter of State. And his priority is the education of which we are the owner, public education. This leads you to propose measures that strengthen it, but it is not a bet that is detrimental to concerted education, which plays a not inconsiderable role.
–The standard is committed to inclusive education. Many concluded that this implies the disappearance of special education centers.
– If there is one aspect of the debate that caused me personal discomfort, it was that. The rule, in no case, goes against special education. There is not a single line within LOMLOE that suggests closing those centers. It was never raised, at any time. What the law says is nothing other than improving the care that children with special educational needs receive, due to a disability, it will always be with the means and the type of center that best suits their needs. And always with the participation of families. And yes, I am aware that to achieve this objective more means and resources must be made available. We’re on that.
-How are you going to do?
–This year already appears in the General State Budgets an inclusive education plan, endowed with 43 million euros that we will develop in collaboration with the autonomous communities and where many fundamental aspects will be included. Among them, improving the endowment for early care. With this plan we want ordinary schools to have more personal and material resources to serve these students. I am referring, for example, to a greater number of support teachers and non-teaching educational figures, such as communicative mediators and physiotherapists. These resources will also be destined to strengthen the means of the special education centers. Ultimately, it is about improving the degree of inclusion of our young people in the educational system wherever they are.
–Will families continue to decide which school their child with special needs goes to?
-Of course. What the educational reform is proposing is nothing other than improving the care they receive, which will always be with the means and the type of center that best suits their needs. And always with your participation. If the father or mother of a child with autism spectrum or Down syndrome wants him to go to school in an ordinary center, they will be able to do so because that school will have resources and means. In those cases where ordinary school is not possible or is not convenient, these children will be enrolled in special education. This is how it will be now and 10 years from now.
–A recent report confirms that 60% of young people do not know who Miguel Ángel Blanco was. The reality of the institutes shows that there is no material time to study, for example, the history of ETA. Will the new law solve this problem?
–We are only capable of understanding the present when we understand the past. Indeed, it seemed essential to us that our young people know the closest memory of our country. Modern history appears in the decrees we are working on, specifically the one that develops the Baccalaureate curriculum. It is important that students know the coup, the second republic, the repression suffered by many people for ideological reasons, the suffering of women in that dark stage …
– Regarding the controversy with Asturian, do you think it should be considered as a co-official language or the opposite?
–As a Ministry, it is not our responsibility to pronounce ourselves on the officiality of a language. The Constitution grants this competence to the CC AA and we are respectful of what the General Board of the Principality of Asturias decides on this matter. In any case, the LOMLOE establishes that both co-official languages and languages with legal protection must be addressed, such as Bable.
– Do you like that a Ministry of Education is in the hands of Vox, as it happens in Murcia?
-Vox is the antipodes of what I think, believe and defend. But a fundamental premise is respect for the electoral results.
–Regarding the FP law, how are companies going to get involved?
–They are going to become an extension of the educational center. In the case of intensive VET, there will be a 35% minimum internship. The type of contract, which will be remunerated, we are studying now in the labor reform.
“It is unfair to make the bottle the photo of today’s youth”
– He wastes emotion when he talks about Spanish youth. What do you think when you see the images of the bottles every weekend?
– If we do not trust the future of our country, turn off and let’s go. Young people need us to give them options and opportunities. The first thing to do is avoid generalizations and moralistic speeches. This does not mean that I am not worried about the bottles and the culture of alcohol abuse. But it is unfair that we look at the bottle to take a photo of today’s youth. It is not a real photo. Our youth are diverse and engaged. It is one of the best formed.
-Bullying is a real scourge in the classroom. How will they fight it?
–Our educational centers are safe, but it is true that there are harsh and complicated harassment situations. We have launched a campaign and, in addition, we will convene the State Observatory for School Coexistence, which has not met since 2011.
–You pick up your child on Fridays after leaving school. Why don’t we see the Prime Minister doing the same to set an example on conciliation?
“I assure you that he does it frequently.”
“Well, we never see him.”
– We must respect that space, we are talking about minors. But not only him. Many ministers and ministers have children and we like to find ways to reconcile. Is not easy.