Where does education happen? Only in schools? Or also in after-school activities, youth clubs, cultural centres, neighbourhood community centres, etc.? The Barcelona Municipal Education Council (CEMB), as a citizen-participation body, works through this wider perspective on education.
The Council is a regular forum that includes the participation of the City Council (councillors, advisers, municipal staff) and people from the education sector (the directors of public centres and the heads of private centres, teachers, students, administrative and service staff and expert educational organisations).
This year, the body is celebrating its 30th anniversary and, with the change in its name, (from School Council to Education Council), it is furthering its understanding of education as a life-long process that is not only pursued inside educational centres. For this reason, there are also representatives of other stakeholders on the Council, such as leisure organisations, sports bodies and associations teaching music or arts.
Can I take part?
Marta Carranza, the Secretary of CEMB, explained that anyone who wished to take part in the Council must start by actively taking part at a grassroots level. “Members of the public must get involved in their main centres for socialisation in the area of education, either in schools or in educational organisations beyond school.”
“Once they have become active at this grassroots level”, continued Carranza, “there are elections every two years to choose 50% of the members of each centre’s education council. The representatives of each centre then vote to elect members of the district education council, and finally, these councils vote for the CEMB representatives.”
Grassroots participation, qualitative participation
The Secretary affirmed: “The more active grassroots participation is, the more qualitative the representative participation in the district and city educational councils will be.” She also emphasised that these councils are important for exchanging different views on education and its challenges.
“We have to foster communication among all the stakeholders involved in education and who share a vocation for education”, stated Carranza. “Things happen in school, in youth clubs, in after-school programmes, in sports centres and in the library, and they are all connected. We have to work towards achieving a network of small nuclei in the territory, where all the stakeholders are in contact and share a common project.”
Oriol Sala, a student at the Joan Manel Zafra secondary school, a student representative and a member of the CEMB’s permanent committee, believes that forums such as the Education Council are an excellent opportunity for hearing the voice of the city’s students.
Sala stresses that the work of these working committees “makes it possible to deal with specific subjects that concern students, such as educational innovation or how to tackle the climate emergency in education”. The student representative is in favour of creating “more local environments and meetings that are less institutionalised” in order to foster participation.
How is the CEMB organised?
The CEMB committees are created and closed according to the Council’s needs and interests, and they are eminently practical working bodies.
The CEMB currently has the following committees: Monitoring the City Education Project (permanent), Schools and Schooling Map, Participation, Educational Innovation, Vocational Training and School Segregation, Equality and Inclusion.
Would you like more information about the Municipal Education Council?
On the Barcelona Municipal Education Council website you will find all the necessary information and documents, as well as the agenda of this consultative and participative body. You will also find information about the Municipal Education Council of each of the ten city districts. Will you join us?