PLANS to introduce half-term style holidays to the Spanish school schedule, which have already been adopted in Cantabria, are unlikely to hold much sway in Andalucia because of the weather, according to the Secretary General of the Malaga Teachers’ Union, Felix Martin.
“The climatic conditions in Cantabria are not the same as in Andalucia,” he says, adding: “I think this model cannot be translated here.” He also mentioned that it would be impossible to extend the school year beyond the end of June, or begin in early September, due to the overpowering heat and the fact that most classrooms do not have air conditioning.
“From an educational point of view I am not convinced that the extra interruptions are beneficial, since it always takes a few days to recover a good rhythm and return to established routines after holidays.”
Provincial President of the ANPE union, Maria del Amo, disagrees, considering a rest period after every 33 teaching days beneficial for teachers and students, but perhaps not for parents because “lately they treat school as a place to ‘park’ their children rather than a place for teaching and learning.”
The ANPE thinks that students become very tired during the current long terms, and that periodic disconnection will help make them more attentive in class and keep teachers fresh.
Meanwhile, the UGT Federation of Teaching agrees that the summer heat is the main limiting factor, because schools are simply unprepared to cope with it, whereas families can see both points but appear to have little say in the matter at present.