The progressive drop in the birth rate in Andalucía is proving a challenge to the education authorities, and there are concerns that some schools will have to close. In just four years the number of children of school age in the region has dropped by more than 70,000.
The Junta de Andalucía’s Education ministry is making efforts to prevent small schools having to close because they have so few pupils, especially in rural and the most vulnerable areas. The deputy Minister for Education, María del Carmen Castillo, says planning is needed for the long term, including enabling schools to offer new activities, services and facilities.
“Closing a school is always the last resort,” she says, “because it jeopardises the future of that village or district, so even if a school only has a few pupils there is hope and we will do everything we can to keep it open”.