The Balearic Court punishes Armengol for discriminating against private early childhood education centers
The Superior Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands has issued two sentences declaring the nullity of a decree (partially), an order and a resolution of the Balearic Government that stipulated aid for families in a disadvantaged social and economic situation for their schooling in network centers from 0-3 years for the 2019-2020 academic year.
The Court considers that the Government, chaired by the socialist Francina Armengol, discriminates against and violates the principle of equality because it conditions, for access to said aid, that minors be enrolled in public or private centers provided that these constitute “an educational network complementary to the network of public nursery schools to guarantee the right to children’s education, provided they sign the corresponding agreement”, says the decree.
Therefore, those children who do not go to a school that has an agreement signed with the administration are excluded from these grants..
“On this point we agree with the appellant that the principle of equality and non-discrimination in the right to education does not support that aid to the most socially vulnerable families at risk of social exclusion does not depend on their socioeconomic conditions, but of an element foreign to them, as if the private educational center has chosen to sign or not a certain agreement with the Administration that will regulate organizational aspects unrelated to the socioeconomic needs of families, ”says one of the sentences that ABC has accessed. «The non-compulsory and non-free nature of the education of this first cycle of early childhood education does not justify the differentiated treatment», adds the court.
With these two sentences, the Court obliges the Balearic Government to universalize aid to all vulnerable families whatever the 0-3 children’s center in which their children attend school, without it being possible to require that the centers be integrated into a certain network subject to public intervention.
In addition, in the case of the order, the ruling states that “insofar as it establishes in general a distribution of economic amounts for aid for schooling, it had to submit to mandatory report of the School Council to issue its opinion on the indicated distribution». Not having been done, the court has determined that the order should nullify in its entirety.
The nullity of these regulations also means that the Government has distributed up to 4.5 million euros of aid without regulatory coverage, which should lead to their return and a new call open to all families.