Education in SpainThe Spanish education system does not match up to the standards of the rest of Europe or other developed nations. However, the government is doing its best to put measures in place aimed at improving these standards. Below are eight facts about education in Spain:

8 Facts About Education in Spain

  1. The current system of education in Spain, also known as the Ley Orgánica de Educación (LOE), or the Fundamental Law of Education, means that education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. This system also typically requires parents to pay for books and other materials such as uniforms.
  2. It is estimated that as of 2016, 98.3 percent of the population in Spain is literate. This is largely attributable to the 10 years of compulsory education.
  3. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport generally oversees education in Spain. However, each of the 17 autonomous regions in the country can make most of the decisions regarding their systems.
  4. Schools are categorized in three ways, there are state schools that are fully funded by the state, privately-run schools which are funded partly by the state and partly by private investors and purely private schools. A majority of Spanish students, 68 percent to be exact, attend state schools. This compares to only 6 percent of students who attend purely private schools.
  5. There are four levels of education in Spain. The first is a nursery or preschool, which is optional. Next comes six years of primary, which is the first stage of compulsory education, followed by compulsory secondary education for four years. Finally, there is an optional level of upper secondary education. At the primary level, the average number of students per class is around 25. While in secondary, the average number of students per class is around 30.
  6. A 2019 study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that Spain experiences more class time than both the European Union and OECD averages. The difference is more pronounced in high school, where Spain’s class time per year is 1,045 hours. This compares to the EU average of 893 hours, while the OECD average consists of 910 hours. This doesn’t seem to have any positive outcome, considering Spanish students perform worse on average than other students regarding the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test. PISA experts believe the problem lies in the teaching methods, as Spanish students tend to memorize information instead of trying to find their own solution to problems.
  7. From pre-primary to secondary education, the enrollment rate was above 90 percent at each level in 2017. However, for tertiary education, the enrollment rate falls to 88.85 percent during the same period. Again, this is attributable to the fact that tertiary education is neither compulsory nor free. Interestingly, more girls than boys enrolled at each stage of education. This includes a marked difference at the tertiary level where the enrolment rate for females is 97 percent compared to 81 percent for males.  However, Spain also faces the greatest number of school dropouts in the EU.
  8. The government expenditure on education has steadily declined since 2009, including spending of 4.87 percent of the GDP on education, compared to 4.21 percent in 2016. This puts makes Spain on the tail-end of European countries when it comes to governmental education spending

While there are positives surrounding education in Spain, the situation requires additional efforts. With increased investment by the government and improved policies, schools will be able to afford more resources, hire more teachers and reduce the ratio of students to teachers. In doing so, students can receive more personalized attention and a better academic experience. Further, this will improve the quality of education and possibly reduce the time spent by students in the class. Finally, these enhancements will likely decrease the unemployment rate and greatly improve the quality of life in Spain.

– Sophia Wanyonyi
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Education in Spain
Education in Spain was hit hard by the financial crisis of 2008, leaving one in three children in poverty — nearly 2.7 million children — and has one of the highest jobless rates in Europe. Since the financial crisis, the government has been trying to recover, but they have not succeeded in improving education in Spain.

The school drop-out rate is the highest in the EU. In 2014, the drop-out rate was nearly 25 percent. Compared to other countries in the EU, Denmark’s drop-out rate was eight percent, and France’s drop-out rate was 9.7 percent. Only 57 percent of adults in Spain have completed upper secondary education, which is lower than the average 76 percent, according to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). This number has been increasing slightly, but it still continues to be the lowest in the EU.

An education bill was introduced in 2013 that has gained controversy. It was passed in 2014 by the conservative Popular Party, which controlled Spanish parliament, despite opposition from other political parties. The bill increased the number of annual exams, organized school funding based on students’ test scores and reintroduced religion as a mandatory subject.

Many Spanish students have protested against this education bill and the subsequent increased costs for college tuition. In 2016, thousands of university students participated in protests in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia.

During the years 2012-2013, there were massive budget cuts on education amounting to 2.2 billion euros. Higher education in Spain took the bulk of the cut at 62.5 percent. The budget cuts led to increases in college tuition, which led to the student protests. The overall investment in education was 21 percent lower than in previous years.

Education in Spain

However, even after the last few years of disarray with education in Spain, the Spanish government is trying to make improvements. In 2016, the government increased the education budget by 10.8 percent even after the large cuts in previous years. The early school leaving percentage is also falling, even as it remains the highest in the EU. The Spanish government has also been reforming the basic vocational education and training (VET) system to improve the chances of gaining employment after graduation for young people. The process seems to be working. The employment rate is one of the lowest in the EU but has risen from 40.9 percent in 2013 to 54.9 percent in 2015.

According to Article 27 of the Spanish Constitution, “Everyone has the right to education.” Therefore, the people of Spain have the right to affordable education to achieve opportunities. Education in Spain still has a chance to improve.

Emma Majewski

Photo: Flickr

Education in Spain

Education in Spain is important to the country’s future. Although the literacy rate in Spain among male and female youth has been extremely high for many years, the country has been devastated by a financial crisis and a depleting economy. In Spain, the literacy rate for youth ages 15 to 24 is excellent. The U.N.’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that an estimated 99.5% of males and an estimated 99.7% of women were literate from 2008 to 2012. These numbers are very promising but Spain’s ongoing financial crisis might make these statistics a thing of the past.

The European Union (EU) mandated spending cuts that required Spain’s “education spending [which] amounted to 4.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2014… [must now] fall below 4 percent in 2015.” The reductions in public funding also increased university tuition, cut student scholarships, increased class sizes and cut teacher salaries. In the previous year alone, Spain experienced education cuts of $2.2 billion. Consequently, there was an estimated decrease in student enrollment by 45,000 students.

In order to make the system of education in Spain more appealing and beneficial for students, José Ignacio Wert, Spain’s minister of Education, implemented new legislation called the Organic Law for the Improvement of Educational Quality (LOMCE). This piece of legislation made numerous changes to Spain’s educational system and warranted mixed feelings between the people of Spain.

One of LOMCE’s initiatives was to end a practice called Selectividad, an entry-level exam that incoming international students were required to pass before being accepted. Another initiative reduced the amount of undergraduate schooling from four years to three and increased the Master’s School requirement from one year to two. Wert said this was a significant change because Spain is “currently isolated from the rest of Europe. We currently don’t recognize graduates from other countries with a three-year degree, even if they come from Cambridge.”

Education in Spain

Wert believes that by implementing LOMCE, Spanish families will save $168 million altogether and students will be eligible to enter the job market by age 21. This is where the LOMCE education bill has created mixed feelings throughout the country because many students have a very different perspective on the matter. The LOMCE education bill was ratified in 2013 and that has decided the future of many students.

For one, students believed that by cutting undergraduate education by one whole year, they were losing the quality of education they could have experienced. Additionally, students believed Wert increased the Master’s School requirement by a full year in order for students to shell out more money to obtain their degrees.

The newly ratified bill for education in Spain is also basing the future of every student off of the examination score they receive on standardized tests. The recorded scores will determine what regions of Spain receive the most educational funding and what students are allowed to continue their education. The students that fall below the minimum requirement “will be separated and their vocational training determined for them.”

Wert stands by the LOMCE education bill because he believes it will help bring Spain’s educational system up to par with the other European countries. The only problem is, Spain’s history of civil war and fascist dictatorship sets it apart from other European countries.

The reign of General Francisco Franco left a gigantic scar throughout Spain and makes its citizens wary of any laws passed down by the national government. Wert and the people of Spain have to find a solution that will provide all aspiring students with the opportunity to pursue an education, without cutting university funding, scholarships and teachers’ wages.

Terry J. Halloran

Photo: Flickr