Graduation of the first promotion of university students from the Prometeus programme

Today, the Saló de Cent of Barcelona City Hall hosted the graduation ceremony for the first class of students from the Prometeus programme who have completed their university studies. The Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, presided over the ceremony, which marked the completion of the university studies of 15 young people from the Raval who entered the programme while they were still studying at the Institut Milà i Fontanals and the Institut Miquel Tarradell. The programme is promoted by the Pla de Barris with the collaboration of Barcelona Science and Universities.

Foto de família de l'acte de graduació d'alumnes Prometeus
08/11/2021 - 20:37 h - Education and studies Octavi Planells

Prometeus is a community programme that ensures that all young people from public secondary schools in neighbourhoods with a lower-than-average university enrolment rate for the city can gain access to academic institutions and successfully pursue higher education, regardless of economic and social conditions. Its origins date back to 2016-17, the academic year in which the Asociación Educativa Integral del Raval, El Periódico El Raval and the two aforementioned secondary schools undertook the initiative to facilitate access to higher education for students from the neighbourhood.

From the outset, it has proved to be a successful programme and it is for this reason that the Pla de Barris (2016-2020), in collaboration with Barcelona Science and Universities, has adopted it as its own and provided it with economic and human resources to consolidate it and extend it to other neighbourhoods in the city with similar characteristics. For all these reasons, Prometeus is today one of the key programmes in the field of education, thanks to the networking work carried out by organisations, educational and social agents and volunteers.

Mayor Ada Colau highlighted the public nature of the Prometeus programme and, above all, the corrective function of injustices that it performs. “Social inequalities are an obstacle to accessing university and, much earlier, economic inequalities explain a large part of school failure in primary and secondary education,” said the mayor, who also announced the introduction of this programme in three new neighbourhoods: Poble-sec, Turó de la Peira and La Prosperitat. “Our aim is to continue working to reduce social inequalities, put an end to school segregation, prioritise schools with complexity in the neighbourhoods with the greatest difficulties, and thus contribute to something essential: that no one is left behind because it was more difficult for them”, said Colau.

The programme

The programme includes a professional team that accompanies the students and has an economic endowment that responds to specific needs in terms of transport, academic reinforcement and material, among others. This personalised accompaniment begins at secondary school and continues beyond university graduation.

At the end of the University Entrance Exams (PAU), they receive support in the transition process towards university, which includes enrolment and the application for public grants. Throughout the years of their university studies, students are also accompanied in order to successfully complete their studies. Likewise, in the last phase of the programme, access to the world of work, support continues to be provided in collaboration with the universities and Barcelona Activa, among others.

In this academic year 2021-22, 159 young people (99 girls and 60 boys) from the neighbourhoods of Besòs and Maresme, La Verneda and La Pau, Torre Baró, Ciutat Meridiana and Vallbona, as well as Raval, are taking part in the programme. In total, 50 young people more than last year, of which 16 have joined this year in the Raval and 34 in the rest of the neighbourhoods.

Role of the Universities

Prometeus has the participation of the University of Barcelona (UB), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). The role of all of them in this programme is key. The increase of Prometeus young people in all universities and their educational success has been accompanied by an increasingly intense and systematic involvement of all of them, as shown by the growing number of people, services and units involved in each university, as well as the increase of their own resources specifically aimed at Prometeus students, such as part of the salary grants of the UPF, the UPC and the UAB.

During the university period, the young Prometeus students are supported and monitored at all times, both academically and personally, by the people in charge of the programme, in close collaboration with the universities. At the same time, they join ranks, accompany each other, share experiences and actively participate in the motivational talks that are regularly held in the high schools to motivate students to continue studying and attract their attention to the programme. In this way, they become points of reference in their neighbourhood and reinforce their educational imaginary as a central value of the programme.

In short, a large part of the strength of Prometeus lies in the involvement of various actors working in a network to make it possible. Together with the Pla de Barris and Barcelona Science and Universities, they are AEIRaval, El Periódico El Raval, AFEV, the Milà i Fontanals, Miquel Tarradell, Barri Besòs, Bernat Metge, and Pablo R. Picasso high schools, the UB, UAB, UPC, and UPF, the districts of Ciutat Vella, Sant Martí and Nou Barris, and the Barcelona Education Consortium.