Regional Government of Madrid celebrates 40 years of school visits to the underground with more than 365,000 students taught how to use it
The Regional Government of Madrid is now resuming face-to-face school visits, after a two-year cancellation and reorganisation, to continue offering students from Primary Schools, Special Education Centres and Occupational Centres basic knowledge of the underground, its correct use and the benefits of this mode of public transport, which is the driver of sustainable and inclusive mobility in the region. The Regional Councillor for Transport and Infrastructure, David Pérez, underlined this today at Puerta del Sur station in Alcorcón, where he accompanied 24 pupils from the sixth year of the Primary School of Colegio Santa Rafaela María (Madrid) to visit Line 12.
This year, the Madrid underground celebrates 40 years of visits from school-children under a programme that began in 1982 for those studying Basic General Education (EGB), aged from 9 to 13. Over the last two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public enterprise had to adapt these sessions to the new reality, under which they were taught virtually.
These classes were only interrupted from March 2020 to January 2021, and were then resumed with a new format but with the same aim – for pupils aged 6 to 12 to learn to correctly use the installations, understand their rights and obligations and become aware of the responsible use of the underground as a mode of public transport.
Over the last 40 years, the different parts of the underground have been visited by some 365,000 students from 6,700 school centres, many of whom, now as adults and professionals in different fields, still remember these visits, including those who, as teachers, now travel on the underground with their own pupils.
In 2021, more than 1,200 students took part in 62 activities, lasting two hours, in which, together with their teachers and Metro technical staff, they interacted in a fun and dynamic manner to discover all the secrets of the underground.
One of these activities, aimed at fourth, fifth and sixth-year Primary School pupils and students with intellectual disabilities, consists of a visit to Lines 12 and 8 – the latter was resumed at the end of May – to show them the main elements of the station and the trains, teach them how to interpret the map of the underground, the signs and the diagrams – as a safety and informative measure – and obtain basic notions on accessibility measures and the contribution by Metro de Madrid to the environment, along with the history of the public enterprise and instil in them the message that the underground belongs to everyone and needs to be looked after.
For first, second and third-year Primary School pupils and students with intellectual or developmental disabilities, workshops are held entitled Con Metro reactivas el planeta [Reactivating the planet with Metro], to show them, through games and riddles, the rules on safe conduct on the underground network. These classes are taught at the education centres and then, as a climax, they visit a nearby station where they can see first-hand the main features of the station.
The Regional Councillor for Transport and Infrastructure indicated that the two modalities – virtual and face-to-face - will exist side by side until the end of this school year and then, as from September, most of the virtual sessions will be dropped, although some will continue with better virtual tools than those created last year, since they have allowed the school programme to be completed with very good results.