Spain:Lifelong Learning Strategy

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Overview Spain

Contents

Spain:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Spain:Historical Development

Spain:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Spain:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Spain:Political and Economic Situation

Spain:Organisation and Governance

Spain:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Spain:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Spain:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Spain:Organisation of Private Education

Spain:National Qualifications Framework

Spain:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Spain:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Spain:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Spain:Funding in Education

Spain:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Spain:Higher Education Funding

Spain:Adult Education and Training Funding

Spain:Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Primary Education

Spain:Organisation of Primary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Spain:Assessment in Primary Education

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Spain:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Vocational Lower Secondary Education: Basic Vocational Training cycles

Spain:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Higher Education

Spain:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Spain:First Cycle Programmes

Spain:Bachelor

Spain:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Spain:Second Cycle Programmes

Spain:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Spain:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Spain:Adult Education and Training

Spain:Distribution of Responsibilities

Spain:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Spain:Main Providers

Spain:Main Types of Provision

Spain:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Spain:Teachers and Education Staff

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Management and Other Education Staff

Spain:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Spain:Management Staff for Higher Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Quality Assurance

Spain:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Educational Support and Guidance

Spain:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Spain:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Spain:Mobility and Internationalisation

Spain:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Mobility in Higher Education

Spain:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Spain:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Spain:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:National Reforms in School Education

Spain:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Spain:National Reforms in Higher Education

Spain:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Spain:European Perspective

Spain:Legislation

Spain:Institutions

Spain:Bibliography

Spain:Glossary

The concept of lifelong learning has evolved in Spain.

In the 70s it focused on offering training alternatives to adult population, which was a very popular training in that moment. In the 90s, the concept of lifelong learning started to have an approach that went beyond adult education. It strengthened the importance of preparing the students for learning by themselves and adapting to the changing demands of the knowledge society. It also promoted distance education through the establishment in 1992 of the Centre for the Innovation and Development of Distance Education (CIDEAD) in order to facilitate access to education for adults and school aged students who, due to personal, social, geographical or other circumstances cannot study mainstream education requiring attendance.

The National System of Qualifications and Vocational Training (SNCFP) was established in 2002. The SNCFP has the National Catalogue of Vocational Qualifications (CNCP), an instrument organising the vocational qualifications identified in the productive system. This catalogue enables the recognition and accreditation of the acquired professional competences, both through training processes -either formal or not- and work experience. For more information, see Validation of non-formal and informal learning.

In 2007, the sub-system of vocational training for employment is created. It comprises different initiatives for the training of the working population, both employed and unemployed people, with the aim of promoting training that responds to the needs of a knowledge-based economy. For more information, see Provision targeting the transition to the labour market and Other types of publicly subsidised provision for adult learners.

Strategic and training actions of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport

In accordance with the European guidelines set by the Lisbon Strategy (2000), with the 2006 Education Act, the concept of lifelong learning takes a more global and comprehensive approach, which is continued in the 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education:

Everyone must have the right to lifelong learning, within and outside the education system, in order to acquire, update, complete or expand their abilities, knowledge, skills and competences for their personal and professional development. That is why the basic principle of the education system is to promote lifelong learning.

In order to develop lifelong learning policies, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport boosted in 2014 the Strategic Lifelong Learning Plan, which presents the necessary measures to comply with the European Commission's objective to increase adult learning in the period 2010-2020.

This plan is the national realization of the 2007 Action Plan of the European Commission on Adult Learning It's Never Too Late to Learn. Its basic objective is to improve training opportunities and quality, without any time limit and without being age-specific. It is aimed at encouraging lifelong learning in line with a modern, democratic and changing society, by strengthening quality training and promoting the attainment of the highest levels of education and training amongst citizens. 

The strategic lines of this Plan for the 2014-2016 period are the following:

  • provide widespread access to information, guidance and counselling, so that all citizens can participate in lifelong learning
  • improve the quality of lifelong learning
  • promote innovation in lifelong learning
  • adapt the training provision to citizens’ personal, social and labour needs
  • make more flexible and link up training systems and pathways
  • increase the percentage of citizens who participate in lifelong learning activities, as well as their qualification levels
  • stimulate the permanence of citizens in the different types of training provision.

Other strategic actions of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport to promote lifelong learning are:

  • vocational training distance provision for the whole population, through the Portal Vocational Training Through the Internet
  • integrated system of vocational information and guidance, whose main actions are the following:
  1. ACREDITA, information and guidance platform for the accreditation of professional competences acquired through work experience. It includes general information on the procedure and the State open calls, a self-evaluation tool for citizens to identify the competences they can accredit and the options related to them, a tool for advisors, evaluators and candidates to manage the procedure
  2. Todo FP, Portal on Vocational Information and Guidance aiming at improving the access to information and Vocational Training for all the citizens
  3. Specialist Guidance Group, aimed at improving coordination between State and regional authorities regarding education. It is made up of by a representative designed by each Autonomous Community and representatives of the central authority
  4. vocational guidance tools and resources for guidance teachers, students and citizens in general
  5. lifelong learning aimed at guidance professionals
  6. drawing up of a map of vocational guidance resources at State level.
  • Aprende a lo largo de la vida, the web portal with information and guidance on lifelong learning. Its objectives include disseminating learning opportunities for adults which are available throughout the country and providing citizens with learning resources. Within the portal, InFórmate guides users in choosing the training pathway which meets their profile and provides them with the training options which best suit their needs and context. Regarding the different types of provision, it shows their key aspects: admission requirements, duration, structure, professional opportunities and the institutions offering them.

In accordance with the Recommendation of the European Council on the establishment of a European Qualifications Framework, the MECD has prepared the Spanish Qualifications Framework (MECU). For more information, see National Qualifications Framework.

Just like the MECU and with the same goal of informing the society, favoring international mobility and recognising training in all the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education (MECES) is established. For more information, see Higher education.

Finally, the MECD has the General Sub-Directorate for Lifelong Learning, depending on the General Directorate for Vocational Training. Among their functions it is possible to highlight:

  • the organisation of adult education and the preparation of the training provision
  • the design and development of measures guiding lifelong learning, both through education activities, either formal or non-formal
  • coordination relationships in the field of vocational training and lifelong learning and cooperation with the Autonomous Communities and local authorities, as well as the planning, management and monitoring of the programmes and agreements with the education authorities in both fields, all in coordination with the General Directorate for Evaluation and Territorial Cooperation
  • the participation and collaboration in the European and Latin American programmes for Adult Education.

Training actions of the education authorities and other public authorities

Lifelong learning feeds on the initiatives carried out by central and regional education authorities, education offices or municipal education institutes within municipal councils, employment authorities and non-profit-making entities of the civil society.

In order to guarantee universal and permanent access to learning, the different public authorities identify new skills and provide the training required in order to acquire them. They are also responsible for: 

  • promoting flexible learning opportunities for young people and adults who left the education system without any qualification to acquire basic skills and, where possible, achieve the relevant qualifications
  • facilitating and promoting the attainment of post-compulsory secondary education or equivalent for all people
  • facilitating access to information and guidance on lifelong learning opportunities and their accessibility.

For more information, see Provision of liberal (popular) adult education and Other types of publicly subsidised provision for adult learners.

Thus, the different education authorities offer mainly the following types of provision:

  • basic education: Initial education and secondary education for adults, aimed at obtaining the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate
  • post-compulsory education: Bachillerato and vocational training
  • preparation for entrance examinations for intermediate and advanced vocational training
  • preparation for entrance examinations to obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate
  • preparation for university entrance examinations
  • basic vocational training
  • training in the use of ICT
  • foreign language learning
  • 'That's English!', a distance education mode recognised by the Official Language Schools in basic and intermediate levels
  • Spanish as a foreign language, courses for personal development, social and participatory, such as health education and healthy habits, disease prevention and occupational hazards, driver education courses, or other courses within the autonomy of schools
  • operating workshops for job placement, cofinanced by the European Social Fund.

These types of provision are offered in the in-person class at the Centers for Adult Education and in some HEIs, and in the mode of distance or e-learning, by the Autonomous Communities, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (Ceuta and Melilla), CIDEAD and Aula Mentor, which provides an alternative in the field of training for adults who do not have the opportunity to attend classroom-based sessions. The training provision comprises a set of courses organised into training areas, which have been specially designed and/or adapted for learners and which are constantly updated.

For more information, see Provision to raise achievement in basic skills and Provision to achieve a recognised qualification during adulthood.