The implementation of the general Baccalaureate, one of the novelties of the educational law, will have a very limited scope next year. In Catalonia and Madrid it can be studied in less than 5% of the centers, in the Valencian Community it will not be offered until the following year and in Andalusia, where its diffusion has not yet materialized, the institute directors calculate that it will reach at most One in every four. The percentages in almost all the other territories also move in very small or very discreet values, according to the count carried out by EL PAÍS. Only five communities (the school organization is a regional responsibility), Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, Cantabria, Asturias and La Rioja, which add up to 10% of the student body, have urged all their centers to offer it if the demand exceeds a certain threshold of students , and even in these autonomies the directors are skeptical about its final extension.

The refusal to implement it more broadly has been the result of circumstances, since autonomies and institutes have been making the decision without previously studying the potential demand, according to several directors and regional officials. The main reasons for limiting its deployment have been the delay in the approval of the state and regional regulations that develop the new education law; the organizational difficulty that the new Baccalaureate entails for the institutes, and the fact that it has not yet been clarified how much the subjects created specifically for this modality will score in the weighting of grades that are made to access the University (a decision that is in hands of the universities themselves).

The new educational law, the Lomloe, has established five types of Baccalaureate compared to the three that existed until now. The modalities of Sciences and Technology and that of Social Sciences and Humanities are maintained; the artistic branch is divided into two, with one more plastic and another dedicated to music and the performing arts, and the general Baccalaureate is created, which includes subjects of sciences and letters. His students will have to study, in addition to the subjects common to all Baccalaureate students (Physical Education, Spanish, in its case the co-official language, Foreign Language, Philosophy, History of Philosophy and History of Spain), a new subject called General Mathematics in the first year of Baccalaureate, and another called General Sciences in the second. Students must choose three other subjects in each course; they can choose them among those included in the rest of the branches of the Baccalaureate offered in their center, in addition to two other electives created specifically for this modality: an Economics subject also with wide-ranging contents, in the first year, and another on Cultural Movements, in second. In summary, the new Baccalaureate allows students to better adjust the itinerary to their interests and avoid certain subjects.

The new modality generates a certain division among directors. After three courses of shocks due to the pandemic and with the prospect of having to face the new curricula (the rules that establish what must be studied in each subject) the course that comes without the regional regulations yet approved, a large part of them do not show moment excessive enthusiasm. Miguel Dengra, president of the association of directors of secondary schools of Andalusia, affirms: “I do not see it very clearly. We do not know which students it is aimed at or which subsequent careers it is more oriented to. And in order to organize ourselves, we need to know as soon as possible if we are going to offer it or not, because it has an impact on the distribution of teaching staff hours”. Iosu Mena, president of the Navarra directors’ association, adds: “In my center we give the Performing Arts Baccalaureate, so we are already saturated. Perhaps it will be useful in institutes that suffer from a drop in student body, to compensate it by making the widest possible offer ”.

In this situation is the Avempace public institute that Eva García-Bajo directs in Zaragoza. The center has seen the eight lines of first ESO that it had a few years ago reduced to only three as a result of the educational oversupply in the area, where there are several public and subsidized centers. Like other of her colleagues, the director believes that the general Baccalaureate meets the needs of various types of students: those who, at the age of 15 or 16, finish ESO and do not know what they want to do when they finish high school; those who are inclined towards careers that do not require a great starting specialization, such as Teaching or Audiovisual Communication; those who plan to later study a higher vocational training cycle that does not require an advanced scientific or technical background, and those who want to sit for public examinations, such as firefighter, police or army, which require a Bachelor’s degree.

The demand in the Aragonese institute of García-Bajo has been higher than expected. “We thought we were going to have about six students and 27 have applied for it in pre-registration. And that has not given us time to make it known among the kids from other centers. The 27 are from our institute and from an integrated school, which has ESO, which we have attached ”.

“I wanted to avoid Latin and a purer Mathematics”

Ariadna, a fourth-year ESO student at the Avempace Institute in Zaragoza, explains: “I chose the General Baccalaureate because I didn’t know how to decide between sciences or letters, and that way I can do a mix of both”. Miryam, who studies at the same center, adds: “My idea is to do a higher degree (Vocational Training) in Photography afterwards. I inquired and they told me that this Baccalaureate would be the best option, because it is a little more focused on degrees (of FP). In addition, the electives caught my attention and I saw myself capable of taking it out ”. The itinerary allows her to avoid two subjects that she would have been forced to choose from if she had opted for the Baccalaureate in Social Sciences and Humanities: “I wanted to avoid Latin and, above all, the purest mathematics, because I am not very good at it. ”.

Among the directors who are being urged to implement them in their centers without being convinced, there is a certain discomfort. César González, president of the association of high school directors of Asturias, explains: “We are having problems to really explain what it consists of, both to students and to families, because we do not know very well where it is directed, nor the weighting of the subjects later for the EBAU (access to the University). Not to mention the numerous organizational problems that this entails, since students can choose any subject (from other types of Baccalaureate) it will be very difficult to fit everything”.

A different reading is made by Esteban Álvarez, president of the Madrid directors’ association, who was recently informed by the regional heads of Education that the modality will only be implemented in eight centers next year: “I think it could be a good option for part of the students. I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but it allows them to avoid certain subjects that are very complicated if they don’t need them”. “In other countries”, continues Álvarez, “like the United States, the Baccalaureate is very general, the same as the first years of University, and the specialization comes later. Here it can serve to reduce dropout in the first years of the degree”.

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