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The City Council of Móstoles will help students who cannot pay the selectivity fees

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The Móstoles City Council, governed in a coalition between the PSOE and United We Can, has decided to take over the payment of the University Access Evaluation (EvAU) fees, the old selectivity, of vulnerable minors who cannot pay them in an institute of your locality. This Tuesday morning – after reading the news in this newspaper about the collection that some teachers were making to pay for the exam to three students of their institute – the Consistory has contacted several centers to find the one that has given to know this problem. The surprise has been that it does not happen in just one, but in several, and has decided to enable emergency social assistance through Social Services. The centers will provide the data of the families of these boys and will contact them directly. The competences in Education, in any case, belong to the Community of Madrid, which responded to the center’s request for help in writing, explaining that this course “did not include any new course of reduction of rates other than those that already existed” .

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The assumptions referred to by the Administration are those that are included in article 20 of Royal Decree 83/2016, which specifies that students from large families will benefit from exemptions. So will victims of terrorism, their spouses and children, and students with disabilities. Those who belong to vulnerable families or those in social exclusion, therefore, do not have the possibility of benefiting from any scholarship or discount, since they are not considered academic fees, which are those covered by scholarships, but administrative.

Noelia Posse, mayor of Móstoles, has promised that her government assumes the cost of the fees “although this competence corresponds to the Community of Madrid and the Government of Díaz Ayuso” and they will do so by resorting to social emergency aid. “We will also study how to create a specific fund to pay educational fees in the future,” he assured. Natividad Gómez, Councilor for Education in the southern municipality of Madrid, has assured that, upon hearing the news, they have tried to contact several centers to offer their help. “We are concerned about this situation and we will do everything possible so that no boy is left without studying,” he explained. Even so, he has insisted that the competences belong to the regional administration and they should have “more sensitivity” with these issues. “We have been doing these things throughout the pandemic,” he said. It refers to the fact that the City Council donated last year 119 tablets with internet connection to the most disadvantaged students of the municipality “to avoid the digital divide” and hired the services of the Mediterranean Catering company to prevent those who had the dining grant from feeding on the controversial menus of Telepizza and Rodilla during the first wave of the pandemic.

After the news came out, at least 50 anonymous readers have written an email to this newspaper offering to help these minors financially. The institute, which requested anonymity to avoid stigmatizing students, doubts about how to channel that aid because being “a public center we cannot receive donations.” CC OO, for its part, will study how to collect all the help from individuals because, as Isabel Galvín insisted, this “is the tip of the iceberg”, it is not an isolated event and is happening “in many institutes in the region.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Education has argued that these fees exist in all autonomous communities and that they are amounts charged by universities. “It is about compensating the costs assumed by public universities in carrying out this entrance exam,” he said. The Community of Madrid, the spokesperson insisted, contributes annually to the financing of universities – university studies that belong to the non-compulsory education stage – with around 1,000 million euros that it allocates through the Ministry of Science, Universities and Innovation. However, it does not contemplate any help for these families.

Esteban Álvarez, president of the association of institutes of Madrid (Adimad) assures that this problem is not new, although this course of pandemic is increasing in an “incalculable” way at the moment and no public institution does anything to prevent it. CC OO ensures that of the 50,000 students studying second year of high school in the Madrid region, at least 7,500 are at risk of social exclusion. The boys, who must pass this exam to have access to the university, depend, in the case of the Móstoles institute, on a collection from their teachers. If not, they will go to work.

In other centers, the students ‘parents’ association (Ampa) normally tries to tackle this problem on its own, although in this specific case this route is not feasible because the association is practically inactive and, therefore, has no resources.

All students who finish high school must pay 51.49 euros to obtain the degree that proves that they have passed their studies and, if they want to opt for university, they must pay fees of 90 euros to sit the general exam or of at least 112 euros if they opt for the specific one; that is, the one that allows adding optional subjects to raise the grade. As they usually enroll in an average of two or three voluntary subjects, the average payment for the exam is around 120 euros per student. Therefore, each one pays out about 170 euros at once.

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