School absenteeism in Spain is one of the highest in Europe. "Truancy" is defined as "unjustified non-attendance at school by a minor of compulsory school age". In the Spanish case, the compulsory school age is from 6 to 12 years old.
In the Alonso Rivas school, a participant in the Yard4All project, the rate of truancy is quite high.
The school covers education from the age of 3 to 12 years old and is part of the compulsory education system in Spain. The school is located in Colomera, a village in the province of Granada with a total of 1,298 inhabitants; the school is located in a rural area, where 17% of the population is under the age of 20. Although the classrooms of the Alonso Rivas school do not have a high number of students, absenteeism in its classrooms is high.
Although the data dropped slightly before 2020, in the last two years, the number of cases has been adversely affected by the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on classrooms, especially in rural areas: mainly due to the technological gap between schools and families in rural areas, as well as the low purchasing power of families, which has a direct impact on the relationship between students and the education system in the classroom.
On 22 March 2022 we had a meeting with the partners of the YARD4ALL project where we were able to share the work developed based on the peer to peer model (IO2) and the entrepreneurship guide for children IO3). At the meeting, part of the teaching staff of Alonso Rivas school was able to share the activities developed within the framework of the project with the students of the different courses. One of the points that the teacher Ana Belén Bayona Túnez wanted to highlight during the implementation of the project activities in her classrooms was that, thanks to the involvement of the students in the school garden, the absenteeism rate decreased considerably. When the activities started to be implemented, the classroom had a total of 8 students, of which one was always missing, so they were never all together. Throughout the activities, teacher Bayona managed to get the students in her classroom to attend more regularly, and they were even able to go several days without absenteeism.
In conclusion, we would like to highlight that projects such as YARD4ALL have a direct impact on the relationship students establish with their classrooms, teachers and schools, as well as the perception they receive of the education system, often failing to meet their expectations. The world is constantly changing and realities adapt. It is time for formal and non-formal education to come together and cooperate for the well-being of individuals, and for quality education, especially in schools to promote a more inclusive and active citizenship.
This article was written by Aproximar