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The government will give 400 euros more to one million scholarship holders from September

The government is determined to fight for scholarships. Pedro Sánchez’s announcement that he will give 100 euros a month from September to December to all beneficiaries of the study aid scholarship over the age of 16 represents an investment of around 400 million euros. According to data offered by the president himself in the State of the Nation debate, this clause will benefit a million students who will be eligible for scholarships next year. According to these reports, emergency aid accounts for 18.7% of the total scholarship program, which this year amounts to 2,134 million euros, the largest amount in history.

Sánchez pointed to the controversy over Community of Madrid scholarships, which created a program to help families earning more than 100,000 euros a year. The government, which has already criticized the program in recent days, is trying to reverse the policy, according to Sánchez. “[Entendemos] scholarships to enable social lift, not to perpetuate inequality,” the president explained on the podium of Congress. “Let’s go everyone. We want to guarantee equal opportunities. We want to help families so that no child is forced to drop out of school out of necessity. No one has to drop out of school because of economic problems in our country,” he asserts.

The Ministry of Education has already chosen the scholarship program as one of the elements to turn around the politics of the popular party in recent years. During the university aid, former minister José Ignacio Vert increased the minimum academic requirements to request and maintain the scholarship and developed a complex system, a combination of factors that ultimately reduced the number of beneficiaries as well as the amount they received.

The cancellation of this road was one of the first measures taken by the previous minister, Isabel Sela, when she came to the ministry. The need to obtain a certain mark to keep the aid (which was about 6 or 6.5 depending on the educational stage) was eliminated and, above all, the lowest threshold for access to the full scholarship was raised, which in addition to paying tuition, it includes direct financial aid.

The change in the system increased the income threshold to receive full assistance. The system provides for three thresholds that families must meet, which provide different types of assistance. Only 1 threshold, the lowest, gives access to a full scholarship, which includes tuition fees, a fixed amount and other variables. Until now, the thresholds have been predetermined with fixed amounts that vary depending on the number of family members. For example: a family of four would have to earn less than €13,909 per year to be in threshold 1 and be eligible for the full scholarship. Moreover, they were not updated since they were established 10 years ago.

Now Threshold 1 is equal to the poverty line, this indicator is defined by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). And this corresponds to 60% of the median income. This figure, in 2018, was €18,628.9 for the same family of four, an increase of 34%. The rise in thresholds meant that the number of people receiving the maximum bursary doubled in one year.

In this sense, the announcement made today by the President of the Government also has its ideological component: where the Community of Madrid sets an annual income limit of 107,739 for families of 3 members to access assistance, to have a government scholarship with a maximum income. The same for a family of three is 34,352 euros per year.

Strengthening digital competence

In addition, the President announced a plan to strengthen the digital competence of infant, primary and ESO students, which will also begin in the 2022-2023 school year. The aim is for all students to “learn basic concepts of computer programming and computational thinking, in line with what is being done in many countries around us” and is already being done in some autonomous communities.

The School Code Plan 4.0 includes an investment of 356 million euros over two years and is aimed at almost 5,900,000 children in 34,000 coordinated public and private centers in infant (secondary), primary and secondary schools.

The plan includes measures to train teachers with specific programs and to introduce programming, computational thinking and robotics content into teaching quality.

Source: El Diario

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