April 18, 2014
Parents keep protesting
For The Herald
Protests against Buenos Aires City government’s new on-line registration system for public school students grew in intensity yesterday when a large number of parents gathered together in front of the local Education Ministry’s office in downtown Paseo Colón avenue demanding a vacancy for their children ahead of next year’s school term.
City Education Minister Esteban Bullrich openly promised to look over all 3,000 denounced irregularities “one by one” to give a proper response to each case while Kirchnerite lawmakers seized the opportunity to attack Mayor Mauricio Macri’s administration for violating children’s basics rights.
Parents are complaining against different aspects of the newly introduced enrollment system centralized for the first time in City Hall’s hands.
Most of them are denouncing that their children were granted no place at all for the 2014 school term and that they are receiving no solutions from Macri’s administration.
Yesterday marked their third street protest in as many days after results of the new on-line registration scheme were published last Monday for students who wanted to change from private schools to public establishments, who were coming from another district or just starting primary or high school.
This was the case of Patricia, the mother of five-year-old Pedro, who marched on the Education Ministry at dusk. She sounded not only angry but preoccupied when asked by the Herald about her child’s future.
“I followed every step during the registration period but nobody can give me an answer about why he is not even in the system. Children who continued studying in the same institution were supposed to have priority during vacancy assignment but this was not the case”.
She even highlighted that Pedro’s elder brother is starting sixth grade next year in the same institution and, being a single mother, any shift in her daily routine as having to take her children to different schools before going to work —provided, of course, Pedro gets a vacancy elsewhere first— will already be a difficulty.
But neither Patricia nor other parents who were blocking one of Paseo Colón avenue’s lanes yesterday afternoon during rush hour were still given any solution amid their repeated calls to the 147 City Hall helpline.
“We knew this could happen. When you focus all the registration system in one place, you also bring together all related complaints”, Bullrich said to Vorterix radio station.
The minister tried to differentiate between cases and rejected the idea of some schools being a better option than others regarding their educational level like Lengüitas or Granaderos de San Martín, in Palermo neighbourhood, which caused these institutions to enjoy excess demand during registration period.
Also unionized education workers joined in the public demonstration yesterday as they have been doing in recent days. On Tuesday, UTE education union workers’ leader Eduardo López had delivered a news conference in order to provide assistance to parents who wanted to go to court against City Hall.