education

Parents in Spain are going on a weekend homework strike this month in protest against what they describe as an unacceptable amount of after-school homework their children are given.

The strike has been called by the Spanish Confederation of Associations of Mothers and Fathers of Students (CEAPA) which has about 12,000 members, The Local Spain reports.

Jose Luis Pazos, president of the CEAPA, told AFP that parents had launched the unprecedented initiative with an “absolute certainty that homework is detrimental” to children, damaging their extra-curricular development. Education in Spain was still very reliant on the traditional method of rote-learning — memorizing work, Pazos observed. “What we have to teach children is not to memorize everything, but how to manage information, to be critical, to select what is worth it and what isn’t. Society has changed deeply, but the environment in the classroom hasn’t,” he said.

“Schools are passing on tasks to families that they shouldn’t be. They’ve made us into second teachers. For us, that’s an unacceptable situation,” Pazos told The Gurdian.

A study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development observed in 2012 that Spanish 15-year-olds have 6.5 hours of homework a week compared with an average of 4.9 across the 38 OECD countries. By contrast in Finland and South Korea – two of the countries with best student performances, the average time spent on homework every week is less than three hours.

CEAPA is providing striking parents with three letters to give to their children’s schools: one asking the head teacher not to set weekend homework, another making the same request of teachers and a third explaining that the work has not been done because of the “constitutional right that families have to make what they consider to be the best decisions for family life, which is a private matter and one on which schools should not intrude,” according to The Guardian.

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