That this year the students and their teachers have faced unprecedented challenges is something that we have all been able to verify. Distance classes with teachers not accustomed to it, with improvised infrastructures, with syllabi hastily adapted to new platforms. Higher grade students throughout Spain have faced innumerable obstacles. However, it's in Catalonia that the challenges to be overcome have meant that, for many, the payment of university fees hasn't been worth it. We list the three main obstacles they have faced.
A quarter almost lost to the pandemic
This obstacle was shared by all the Spanish. Confined in winter and "released" in summer, the pandemic eliminated classroom classes at a stroke. Many students took it with good philosophy and took advantage of the confinement to study like never before, but others strongly accused the lack of face-to-face classes that helped them maintain discipline. Uncertainty and anxiety were also not good study companions and the digital divide was strong especially with the most humble. For some it was an opportunity, but for many others it meant missing the final quarter, truncating the final stretch of the course.
Another quarter lost by the "hot autumn" of nationalism
The pandemic has so completely filled our lives that many forget that Catalonia burned during the first quarter of the course that is now ending. The streets of Barcelona and other municipalities were set in fire and the iconic "panots" (the tiles of the streets of Barcelona) were smashed to be used as ammunition against police, journalists and dissatisfied citizens. The universities were taken over by hooded men who occupied them, denying students their right to study. Many nationalist teachers granted waivers and even free approvals to those students who joined the revolt while identifying those who wanted to continue their studies. Almost every day the students had to face the hooded men who erected barricades at the entrances of the faculties so that they could not study, a right that many students (and some teachers who didn'tt tolerate such an abuse of rights) had to defend with their own hands.
No possibility of leaving Catalonia
The Generalitat of Catalonia, arbitrarily, has decided this year to delay the publication of exam results until the pre-registration deadlines for universities in the rest of Spain end, something that happened this past Sunday, July 26. We can't know if the purpose has been to stop the exodus of students to other communities (the "brain drain"), but in any case the publication wasn't carried out until this Monday 27, ten days later than in the rest of Spain. So, Catalan university students are prevented from applying to any university outside of Catalonia (and many had that intention), no matter how well they have achieved.
These three reasons are enough to ensure that no university student in Spain has had a course as boycotted as the Catalans, without counting on the loss of prestige to which nationalism has led to its educational institutions, once distinguished and now politicized, as demonstrated by the pressures against Spanish language or the lack of freedom of expression on the campus of the Universitat de Barcelona, a separatist bastion in which the discrepancy is even physically attacked and those who defend it are the object of social exclusion while those responsible are silent and grant broad sleeves to self-styled vandals so called "anti-fascists" to silence any ideological opposition.
Sad panorama for some young people in the most crucial stage of their lives, who have to face challenges that they shouldn't have to overcome in this moment of personal growth.