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New round of educational grants in Formentera

nenes webIn a press conference held this morning, councilor of Education, Culture and Local Patrimony of the Formentera Island Council, Sònia Cardona, rolled out the list of educational subsidies available in Formentera. Comprising the list is a combined total of 104,750€ in financial aid.

The aid includes money for textbook purchases for early-childhood, primary and secondary studies. Some of this money is directly available to the families of students while another portion comes in the form of grants for public schools. Additional assistance – in the form of travel cost reimbursements and scholarships – is also available to students of technical programmes, university degrees, or other higher education options.

Help with textbook purchases
Government assistance is available both to those educational centres on the island that implement the textbook re-use programme and to Formentera students of early-childhood, primary and secondary education. Several Formentera schools submitted applications for just this sort of assistance, and what resulted was a proposed financial aid package that allocated 70€ per student toward the purchase of primary school textbooks, and 90€ per student for students of the IES Marc Ferrer high school. As for individually-requested assistance packages, families with students in early-childhood education will have 50% of their total textbook bill covered by financial subsidies, while members of both large families and single-parent families will receive assistance covering 100% of their textbook bills.

The Formentera Council has allocated 60,000€ for this year's package of educational subsidies. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis; the objective being to promote solidarity and a cooperative use of textbooks and learning material in the different courses of mandatory education.

Textbook assistance is given chiefly to boost the Council's participation in the fund for used textbooks in public schools. It is also a way to maintain subsidies for households with the 'large' and 'single-parent' status.

Formentera is among the islands in the Balearics with the highest participation in the textbook re-use programme. Last year, 497 students from primary schools in La Mola, Sant Ferran, Sant Francesc and the island's secondary school took part. All four of Formentera's public primary schools have signed on to the programme, and in the case of CP Sant Ferran, student participation is 100%.

These educational subsidies can be requested on-line on the Formentera Island Council's website, www.consellinsulardeformentera.cat, or in person at the Citizen Information Office (Oficina d'Atenció Ciutadana, or OAC) until 21 May.

Educational grants and travel subsidies
Students currently in university or post-graduate programmes in places other than Formentera can request financial aid for travel costs and in the form of educational grants. A total of 36,000€ is available for individual assistance in the form of travel subsidies and 8,750€ for seven educational grants for university students.

The per student sum of aid for travel costs is 450€ for those students attending university outside the Pitiüsa Islands and 150€ for students of universities in Eivissa. Included in this category are all those students attending university, participating in technical programmes and completing A-levels (baccalaureate) in Art. In the year 2013 a total of 89 students availed to these subsidies: 12 who were studying in Eivissa and the remainder studying outside the Pitiüses.

The Office of Culture awards a total of 8,750€ in the form of educational scholarships to cover tuition and materials, in this way fomenting the pursuit of higher education among Formentera youth and contributing to their professional training. The scholarships are 1,250€ each and are given based on family income and academic performance. In 2013 applicants totalled 32. More information about these financial aid options can be found on the Council's website, www.consellinsulardeformentera.cat and applications will be accepted by the Citizen Information Office (OAC) until 21 May.

Formentera's Office of Education continues working to establishing ways to compensate for the educational isolation affecting island residents, correcting inequalities and imbalances between students from Formentera and those from the rest of the autonomous community and Spanish territory.

Formentera youth join call to reject petroleum explorations

jovesdiuen NO webLast Friday, a small group of pupils from IES Marc Ferrer (secondary school), joined by the school's director, Raquel Guasch, met with Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer and councillor of Education and Culture Sònia Cardona to deliver more than 200 signatures from residents of the island who oppose plans to explore for petrol on the Gulf of Valencia and west coast of the Pitiüsa Islands. The act, mostly symbolic, was part of an effort by Formentera students to give the youth of the island a voice in the issues that affect them.

The idea came from the students themselves. After witnessing outreach work done by the school's environmental commission – la Comissió de Medi Ambient –, a group of students at the high school, acutely aware of their right to take part in the discussions that affect the future of their island, decided to take action. Although not yet old enough to vote, the students wished to manifest their rejection of the seismic drilling plans and join the growing collective of more than 2,500 Formentera residents who have already voiced their opposition.

For its part, the Council committed to delivering the signed petitions to the Ministry of the Environment and Industry, thus making the opinions of Formentera youth known to those with decision-making power.

In addition to the Council's absolute support of the youth initiative, in the final trimester of 2013 the administration also ratified the constitution of the recently-formed local youth council, El Consell de Participació Infantil i Juvenil. The youth council was envisioned as an advisory body whose role it would be to provide a voice to Formentera youth as well as promote their active participation in local politics. Giving youth a voice, it was reasoned, would be the first step to considering that voice in the decision-making process.

This month's plenary session of the Formentera Island Council will raise that very issue and introduce a proposal to declare Formentera a UNICEF Child-friendly City. If approved, such a declaration would stand to certify that the municipality of Formentera upholds the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In-school police officer to lead student talks on web-based crime

oci3From 29 to 31 January, Formentera's in-school police liaison will lead a series of talks at the island's secondary school, IES Marc Ferrer, and at two local primary schools, CPs Sant Ferran and Mestre Lluís Andreu. The talks, directed at years five and six of primary school and at the entirety of the secondary school student body, will focus on social media websites.

At the talks, students will also benefit from the special participation of a visiting police liaison from Ciutadella (Menorca), himself a specialist in computer-based crime. The officer will visit Formentera with the express purpose of participating in the specialised talks, which aim to inform island youth of the dangers of computer-based crime, recently on the rise.

In-school police liaisons are members of the local police force who collaborate specifically with educational centres. They assure a level of security on the school grounds, oversee prevention work vis-à-vis underage segments of the student body and work in concert with in-school social workers. On a day-to-day basis the liaison officer also intervenes on cases of truancy, student conflicts and criminal acts, tobacco and drug consumption and a host of other issues. The incidents logged most often in the 2012/2013 annual report by the Formentera police liaison were student conflicts (commonly fights and threats), reports to the local office of social services, serving summons for appearances in juvenile court and interventions in family conflicts.

Thanks to the programme an extra level of protection is afforded the island's early-childhood, primary and secondary school centres, which are assured a certain level of permanent contact with the local police officer.

Formentera's councillor of Education, Sònia Cardona, spoke effusively of the programme's benefits and the high level of satisfaction it is receiving. She underscored the preventative work being done and spoke of the importance, for students, of having such a figure on campus, whether it be in his role leading talks and conferences, supervising entry to and exit from schools, or any of his other functions.

Formentera's in-school liaison, Officer Carlos Malberti, has held his charge since September 2009. The post of liaison officer has been promoted by Formentera Council offices of Public Safety, Education and Social Welfare, and benefitted from the collaboration of the Balearic Islands Institute of Public Safety (ISPIB), a programme of the Govern Balear and the Department of Public Administrations.

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Ens trobareu a:
ESCOLETA SA MIRANDA
Directora: Esperanza Suñer Torres
Av. de Pius Tur, s/n  · 07860
Sant Francesc · Formentera
tel. 971 32 34 15 · fax 971 32 25 83
escoleta@conselldeformentera.cat

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