“The stage of mourning begins now,” explains Marcos, delegate of the Second High School of IES El Paso, who is located next to the soccer field where the people evacuated from the neighborhoods affected by the eruption of La Palma to check your personal data and refer them to other spaces. For a full month, the students of the municipalities of El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane and Tazacorte could not go to the classrooms due to the constant uncertainty generated by the volcano, then the teaching activity was at the mercy of the presence of gases or the fall of ashes, which harmed the quality of the air. The school year had started just a few days before the eruption began on September 17, so there was no time to start the syllabi or for the teachers to evaluate their students. Part of the students of the municipalities was directly affected by the loss of housing or employment of their families. For this reason, since last November, the students who this year face the EBAU to be able to access the university demand a test that adapts to the circumstances they have experienced, “that is fair and equitable”.
Health begins a study in La Palma to analyze the impact of the volcano on health
Marcos points out that in some subjects the delay with respect to other institutes in the Canary Islands or that are from the same island but were not directly affected by the volcano is perceived to be more noticeable. As an example he cites the subject of Chemistry, which due to the less time they have had to face it, they are still beginning to study the second of the five questions that are included in the exam. “Time is running out on us,” he says. Both the Minister of Education of the Government of the Canary Islands, Manuela de Armas, and the regional president, Ángel Víctor Torres, guaranteed a solution to this problem at the end of last year. From the Ministry they came to propose that the Baccalaureate course be extended for a week, something that the student considers does not make a big difference at the last moment of the course and that it will generate an overexertion for the students.
Regarding the EBAU of 2022, in November of last year Education explained that as it is governed by a ministerial order that establishes its structure and criteria, it lacks direct responsibility. However, he insisted that “he will support at all times the options that favor the students of the Aridane Valley.” The president of the Canary Islands also promised in a visit to the educational centers of the Aridane Valley to raise the matter with Pedro Sánchez and pointed out that in January that order would be planned that would include an “exceptionality” for these students, since he understands that they should be examined only of “what they have given in class”. This week, from the Government they have indicated to this newspaper that the ministerial order that regulates the EBAU has not yet been published (despite the fact that it is usually published in the first month of the year) and that it is from the same when the autonomous communities publish their resolutions.
months of uncertainty
The students explain that at the moment they are uncertain as to whether the months they have lived will be taken into account and whether the exceptionality will be only for the affected students of the Aridane Valley or it will be an exceptional test for the entire Archipelago, as the counselor pointed out in the program Good afternoon Canary Islands (from RTVC) the day the students of these courses took to the streets of the palm capital to demonstrate. This is an action that they have not carried out again due to lack of time, since exams were added to the Christmas holidays and they went back to school again to make up for lost time. “With all due respect, the colleagues from other islands can feel empathy, but they have not experienced this situation, not even in the other part of the island,” Marcos remarks, pointing out that there are colleagues who were evacuated, leaving them without their usual space of studies and that psychologically all the people in the area are affected. In addition, for weeks they lived with the doubt of when they would return to the classroom and without an online model. When the return to the classrooms became effective on October 18, they once again had weeks in which they switched to telematic teaching, “despite everyone’s effort to make online classes productive, we know that they are not as effective as the face-to-face ones ”, explained the students in a letter.
From the vicinity of his institute you could see the volcano and after returning to classes the rumblings and earthquakes could be felt, which made concentration difficult at first. His house is also very close and he insists that whoever does not have a friend has a family member or an acquaintance affected by the eruption, which has greatly affected the Aridane Valley emotionally. Another proposal made in November by the Ministry was that reinforcement telematic classes be established. Marcos points out that there were at Christmas but with volunteer teachers. He thanks the teachers for the support they are giving the students at all times despite the fact that they have also been directly affected by the eruption.
Noe is also a delegate of another of the affected centers, the IES José María Pérez Pulido, in Los Llanos de Aridane. He explains that the students are already psyched up, because they believe that they will not have any type of adaptation and that the test will be the same throughout the Canary Islands. In his case, he explains that the teachers have told them that the Ministry has requested a report with all the contents that they have not been able to give up to now as planned at the beginning of the course. He also indicates that it is not ruled out that they will manifest again, but it has been difficult for them to find an exact date. The student adds that these months have been very difficult emotionally. Marcos adds that in the case of Language and Literature, his teacher has received the communication that one of the authors who enter the subject of the EBAU of the Canary Islands will finally be left out, something that he believes represents progress but it is for everyone. Archipelago and not an adaptation to the people of the Aridane Valley.
The Ministry of Education of the Government of the Canary Islands has also reported this week that it will offer a course on emotional education to teachers from La Palma. It is a training action, which will be given by the president of the International Network for Emotional Education and Well-being (RIEEB), Rafael Bisquerra, and which will allow them to acquire theoretical knowledge, tools and emotional reinforcement resources that will facilitate the development of actions aimed at teachers, families and students. Precisely, emotional education was key in returning to the classroom for students in Infant and Primary courses, since going through a volcanic eruption, being evacuated or having their lives change so quickly made going back to school even more necessary.
In the case of high school students, the sadness of losing homes, farms and so many landscapes is compounded by stress and nerves due to an exam that is so important at this stage of life. “We want to fight for our future and pursue each of the plans, dreams and illusions that we had when none of this had happened. We do not want to have an easier EBAU, if it were not for our state, we would never have addressed you”, explains the student manifesto written last December.
Last year, 402 people registered for the EBAU exams on the island. Since the eruption, 20 educational centers in three municipalities have been affected. It is about 4,400 students of Infant, Primary, Secondary and Baccalaureate.