The academic year 2019/2020 starts between 10 and 16 September in Madeira, mobilizing about 6,300 teachers and 42,000 students and with two new features: digital textbooks and the division of the periods into two semesters.
“The school year starts with about 42,000 students in all cycles, from kindergarten to secondary education, public and private, where we have about 10,000 students,” said the Regional Secretary of Education, Jorge Lusa. Oak.
The official stressed, on the other hand, that all teachers with permanent ties to the Autonomous Region of Madeira (94%) are already placed, so “there is no reason” that “all schools” will not be working from 16th September.
Two new developments mark the academic year 2019/2020 in the Madeira archipelago: the introduction of digital textbooks in grade 5 and the organisation of the study in two semesters, a pilot project involving seven schools in the region.
“All this underlies a logic that has already been tried in the last school year and has to do with curriculum flexibility,” said Jorge Carvalho, underlining that the number of schools participating in the semester project will allow the effectiveness of the method to be measured.
Digital textbooks, on the other hand, cover all 5th graders, about 2,200, and represent a € 1.3 million investment by the Regional Secretary for the purchase of tablets, which will be distributed free by student population.
“This has three reasons: it is a generation that is already socially digital, we release students from the weight of their backpacks and protect the environment,” explained Jorge Carvalho, noting that this year there will be less than 1.5 million pages of paper in classrooms, only in the 5th grade level.
On the other hand, the official indicated that the renovation of the schools’ computer park, which started in 2015 at a rate of 25% per year, is completed this year, with a total of 5,000 updated equipment.
The average number of pupils per class in the Autonomous Region of Madeira is below 20 and, despite the gradual loss of student population due to the reduction in birth rates, no closure or merger of schools is expected this year.
On the other hand, the entry of students from Venezuela, children of emigrants who returned to the region, stabilised.
The official also explained that it was not necessary to create any “exceptional situation” to integrate the natural pupils of Venezuela, and this process, despite some difficulties at the language level, has been proceeding with the “greatest naturalness”.
The budget of the Regional Secretary for Education is around 330 million euros per year, of which 30 million is invested in contracts with private schools.