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Processes, people and paperwork


Years, nay centuries ago I worked in adult education - evening classes and what not. As part of the annual routine we would work hard from around April time to ensure that we had a full programme of courses to offer as September came around. We produced booklets with details of the courses, we advertised in the local newspapers, we updated websites and we did all we could to sell our courses.

We tried hard to describe the course, where, when, what people might learn from it and what was expected of them. In fact both the students and the teachers used to get fed up with the amount of detail we asked for and supplied.

Maggie and I want to do a Spanish course. We've done them before here in Spain but usually in small towns where a quick visit to the Town Hall or the library has turned up a leaflet which gives sufficient detail for us to know when and where the course is, how much it costs and how to sign up. In Cartagena, a city of 210,000 people it didn't prove so easy to find that basic info. I did an Internet search and came up with the minutes of a council meeting where the City Fathers approved continuing support for an organisation that teaches Spanish. From that information I found their website which gave me their address. I went to see them and they were very helpful, their information was basic but useable and they made me do a test to check my level. Maggie went back to do the same test but at that point we realised just how expensive they were, basically 20€ per session or 160€ per month per person. Anyway they haven't been back with the test results and without the test results they can't tell us when the classes will be.

So I went back to the Internet and after hours, literally, of searching I found the Adult Education Centre. Their website looks like it was designed as part of a Primary School project but at least it gave me some information even if it was for the academic year 2008/09. I went to the centre, I was given forms to fill in, I asked if there was more info; "When you've completed the forms." Maggie and I went back in the evening with our completed forms, the Centre was closed so I went back with the forms today.

Bearing in mind that I'm trying to sign up for a course on Spanish for Foreigners it wasn't a comforting experience. There were three people filling in forms on the desk in front of me and I had to lean through them to ask to sign up. "When are the courses, is this timetable correct, how much is it, what level should we sign up for?", I asked. "Hang on, let me just check the forms first," Maggie had provided the paperwork they asked for but not the forms they wanted so although I signed up OK I had to walk home to get copies of Maggie's stuff. About an hour later I was back to sign Maggie up too. "Right, about the prices and times and such..." "Yes, what you have to do is to come to the presentation on Monday afternoon at 4pm here."

The whole process just gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

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