News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week February 12th to February 19th 2003.
COSTA SCHOOLS IN TURMOIL
Growing expat population causes language difficulties in classrooms
By Oliver McIntyre
RECENT STUDIES REVEAL THAT THE LANGUAGE DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED BY AN INCREASING NUMBER OF FOREIGN STUDENTS IN LOCAL SCHOOLS IS BEGINNING TO SERIOUSLY DISRUPT THE PROCESS OF LEARNING.
Both expatriate and Spanish parents are beginning to find that their children are not making sufficient progress due to the linguistic barrier encountered by schools in which a high number of students don't speak or understand fluent Spanish.
For instance, at El Caparral state school in Mijas, there are currently twice as many foreign students as there are Spanish children in attendance. There are 30 different nationalities represented in the student body, and in some classrooms there are as few as four native Spanish children. At the recently inaugurated La Jacaranda state school in Benalmádena, 100 of the school's 360 students are from countries other than Spain - 50 per cent of those being British.
FOREIGN STUDENTS ON THE UP
El Chaparral and La Jacaranda are but two examples of a trend that is increasingly experienced at schools all along the coast. There are currently 11,000 foreign children enrolled at schools in the province of Málaga (about 8,000 of them along the western Costa del Sol). As the number of foreign students grows, Costa schools are faced with a new challenge: how to teach to a group of students who don't all speak the same language.
At El Chaparral in Mijas, for example, close to 200 of the school's 512 foreign students speak either very little or no Spanish. There is currently a support teacher who provides special Spanish classes to the foreign children three times a week. However, Parents Association (APA) president Fuensanta Lima has revealed that due to the increasing number of students, each child may receive as little as one Spanish class a week, clearly insufficient to foster adequate progress.
MORE SUPPORT TEACHERS NEEDED
The issue is also worrying for parents of Spanish children, who have begun a signature-gathering campaign at el Chaparal in an effort to secure more resources from regional government. The Parents Association has already asked provincial government to provide funds for an additional support teacher, as well as for the creation next term of 'bridge', or transition, classes for non-Spanish speakers.
José Nieto, Education delegate for Málaga Province, has revealed that the government recognises the challenges posed by the situation and plans to increase the number of special language support teachers in schools all along the Costa.
YOUNG BRITON KILLED IN FLAT FIRE
By David Eade
NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD PAUL BURGESS DIED FROM SUFFOCATION AFTER A CHIP PAN CAUGHT FIRE AT HIS FAMILY HOME IN LOS BOLICHES.
The rest of his family who were in the apartment in Edificio Detelina in the Calle Antonio Machado slept through the small blaze and where only aware of what happened when firemen broke into their apartment.
The Burgess family, who came to Spain from Middlesbrough, have lived in the apartment for more than three years. Paul was the eldest of five brothers all of whom were at home when the tragic incident occurred. An investigation into the incident reveals that the victim evidently returned home in the very early hours of the morning and feeling hungry placed a frying pan containing oil on the burner and went through to the lounge to wait for it to heat. Unfortunately he fell asleep, the pan overheated and caught fire with smoke soon filling the room suffocating him to death. The door between the lounge and the bedrooms was closed so the smoke did not reach the rest of the sleeping family.
NEIGHBOUR CALLED FOR HELP
The alarm was finally raised at 7.45 when a neighbour noticed smoke and called the emergency services. As it was not immediately clear which apartment was on fire local and national police officers went from door to door raising the occupants. Receiving no answer from flat 3C firemen crossed onto the balcony from a neighbouring flat and broke in through the window. Inside they found the victim, whom they rushed to the apartment block entrance where medics tried in vain to resuscitate him. The tragedy has left the Burgess family in a state of shock.
LANGUAGE SCHOOL GOES TO THE WALL
By David Eade
The Wall Street Institute English language school in Marbella has closed its doors without any due notice to the staff or pupils. It is estimated that over 350 students have been affected by the collapse of the school. Many of the pupils now face uncertainty especially those who have secured bank loans or taken out credit agreements to pay for their courses. A committee has been formed to carry out a dialogue between the students, the Wall Street Institute company, the holder of the Marbella franchise and the Andalucía consumers' federation. It should be stressed that all the WSI schools are a franchise operation and the school in Málaga is not affected. One possibility is for students to continue their studies in Málaga, although many insist they want to learn in Marbella.
The owners of the Wall Street Institute have announced they are to take legal action against Alfredo Quintás Ponte who holds the franchises for Marbella, Orense, Santiago de Compostela, Ferrol and Pontevedra all of which have closed. WSI says the franchisee has not paid major debts to them since 1998 and has not met his contractual obligations.
FUENGIROLA HIT BY MASSIVE 103 LITRE DOWNPOUR
By Oliver McIntyre and David Eade
A MASSIVE DOWNPOUR OF RAIN HIT FUENGIROLA LAST FRIDAY AT 18.00 WHEN 103 LITRES OF RAIN FELL ON THE TOWN WITHIN LITTLE MORE THAN TWO HOURS.
By comparison, Málaga only recorded 20 litres throughout the day with Estepona receiving 13 litres and Ronda three. Within minutes of the huge deluge commencing, all the streets in Fuengirola and Las Lagunas were either partially or totally inundated with water. Numerous businesses were forced to close because of the enormous amount of water that poured through their doors. As the streets of Fuengirola were transformed into canals residents declared, 'this is like Venice'. Pedestrians who attempted to cross streets found themselves up to their waists in water. Water also poured into underground car parks completely covering the cars. A wall at the municipal sports pavilion in Las Lagunas gave way under the force of the waters. Rivers and streams overflowed. Access to Fuengirola from the motorway was cut and not reopened until 21.00. The occupants of seven cars inundated with water at the Las Lagunas roundabout were rescued by emergency services. The train service to Málaga was halted after a landslide at Carvajal.
The Fuengirola and Mijas fire service rescued 90 people trapped in various zones of the two municipalities. Forty people who had sought refuge in an industrial unit on the Vega estate were brought to safety as too were 50 people rescued from their homes in Fuengirola. Fortunately none suffered injury.
REGIONAL GOVERNMENT AID REQUESTED
Mijas Mayor Agustín Moreno has requested assistance from regional government to help pay for damages - to both public infrastructure and private property. For her part, the Mayoress of Fuengirola, Esperanza Oña, has announced that the Town Hall is getting in touch with those who suffered damage to advise them how and when they can make their claims for compensation. Mijas Town Hall also reported on Monday that it will co-ordinate the handling of private property damage claims. Residents can file damage claims at the Tenencia de Alcaldía in Las Lagunas, where the appropriate forms are available. Town personnel will subsequently certify each claim. The Mayor also noted that several upcoming projects will address drainage issues in remaining trouble spots such as Calle Río Darro, Calle Río Genil, and Calle Río Guadalquivir.
The regional government's delegate in Malaga province, Luciano Alonso, later confirmed that he is to request aid funds for those people in Alhaurin, Mijas and Fuengirola who suffered property damage in the recent deluge.
A meteorological expert told the Costa del Sol News that after the recent unsettled weather the freak storm was caused by a mass of cold air in the higher levels of the atmosphere combining with showery weather in the lower levels.
SERIOUSLY INJURED MAN DUMPED AT HOSPITAL
Violent incidents believed to be score-setting and drug related
By Dave Jamieson
A mystery Arab was found outside a Málaga hospital in the early hours of last Thursday with a gunshot wound to his back. The man was immediately given emergency surgery after which he was said to be in a serious but stable condition. A car is reported to have pulled up outside the hospital at about 2.00, when the injured man was pushed out onto the road. The car was then driven off. It is also understood a quantity of drugs was found the scene. The victim, eventually identified as 31-year-old Mohammed Said, later told authorities he was shot with a 9 mm pistol, while doctors explained that his injury was particularly serious because the bullet, which entered between his shoulders, had perforated his intestine and colon. A police spokesman would not speculate on the background to the attack, although there is speculation that it may have been a settling of accounts between drug traffickers.
GANG GUNFIGHT IN ALMERÍA
Meanwhile, a 42-year-old man has died and six have been injured in a gang gunfight in Almería. Guardia Civil reports say the attack in the town of Albox was between members of the same gang to which all the victims but one belonged, and is believed to have connections to two murders in Arboleas last September. Four firearms and the vehicle used in the raid were confiscated, plus two rifles with telescopic sights which may also have been involved. A government sub-delegate later described the attackers as 'very professional'.
VELEZ COULD BE REGIONAL FIRE BASE BY SUMMER
Axarquia Town Halls to work together to improve fire cover
By Dave Jamieson
VÉLEZ-MÁLAGA COULD BE THE BASE FOR A NEW REGIONAL FIRE SERVICE WITHIN FIVE MONTHS.
Provincial Deputy Rodríguez Osorio, visiting the town last week, went back on previous comments when he signalled that a new fire station could be functioning within four or five months, if there is close collaboration between all the Town Halls involved. Sr Osorio was talking after a meeting with all the Axarquía municipalities which have signalled interest, and said he had offered two possibilities: either to establish agreements with both Vélez and Rincón de la Victoria, as towns of more than 20,000 residents, and create an association with the other municipalities, or form an association with all the towns in the area. Voting amongst those present, he reported, had been unanimous for the second option, although eight, including Comares and Cómpeta, were not represented.
SUPPORT BASES FOR NERJA AND RINCÓN
The project now under consideration proposes a central base in Vélez-Málaga staffed by 20 professional fire-fighters, assisted by volunteers, plus support bases in Rincón, Nerja and Periana, each with 10 professionals. Basic units are planned for Cómpeta, Canillas de Aceituno and Alfarnate. The estimated cost of establishing the service is said to be 1.5 million euros, of which participating Town Halls will have to find half.
JOURNALISTS TAKE COURT ACTION
By David Eade
The press associations of the Campo de Gibraltar and Cádiz have laid complaints in the La Línea courts against the Royal Gibraltar Police. The associations claim that the RGP illegally detained, threatened and ill-treated 14 journalists during the recent Greenpeace demonstration in the Bay of Algeciras.
The legal complaints state that on January 20 in the waters of the Bay of Algeciras the RGP aborted a protest action by the environmental group against illegal refuelling operations after they boarded the tanker 'Vemamagna'. This resulted in 20 people being detained of whom 14 were members of the media and the remaining six Greenpeace activists. The president of the Press Association of the Campo de Gibraltar, Estanislao Ramfrez, declared that the police action was a 'violent and unjustified attack at sea that put at risk the lives of the journalists'. He added that the RGP had 'attacked freedom of expression, of information and the right of citizens to be informed'.
Of the 14 journalists detained by the RGP, 12 were released the same night. The other two, a reporter from Tele 5 and a cameraman from Antena 3, were bailed for 1,200 euros and 500 euros on charges of aggression and insulting authorities respectively. It is believed that the arrest of the journalists caused a heated diplomatic row between Madrid and London.
VUELTA DE ANDALUCIA RACE COMING TO COSTA
Bicycle race to finsh in Benalamadena this year
By Oliver McIntyre
THE 49TH EDITION OF THE VUELTA DE ANDALUCÍA BICYCLE RACE IS SET TO KICK OFF THIS COMING SUNDAY IN CÓRDOBA.
The race will run for five days, ending in Benalmádena on Thursday, February 20. There is a separate leg, or stage, of the race on each day. The first leg, on Sunday, takes riders on a 180-kilometre loop trail, starting and finishing in the city of Córdoba. On Monday the riders start in Sevilla, racing 159 kilometres to Huelva. They set out from Sevilla again on Tuesday, this time riding 167 kilometres to Lucena (Córdoba). On Wednesday the cyclists take off from Cabra (Córdoba), riding 174 kilometres to Jaen. On Thursday, they ride out of La General (Granada) and cross the final finish line 158 kilometres later in Benalmádena.
Seventeen teams will compete in the five-day race, including seven from Spain, and two each from Germany and Belgium. Holland, France, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland each have one team entered in the competition. The race has an official Web site at www.vueltaandlucia.com, which provides specific details about the teams, the exact routes of each leg of the race, as well as other information.