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Spain:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

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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

Ongoing reforms and policy developments provides a thematic overview of the main ongoing reforms and policy developments in the field of education and training in Spain, from 2014 until April 2017.

Its articles refer to university and non-university education, lifelong learning and continuing training, and employability:

The presentation of the 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, modifying the 2006 Education Act, is worth stressing.

The last article European perspective provides links to strategies where education and training have a prominent role:

  • Europe 2020 Strategy (E2020)
  • Strategic Framework for Cooperation in Education and Training (ET 2020)
  • Communication from the Commission on the ‘Rethinking Education’ initiative.

It also refers to the European semester of economic governance, the key messages of the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) and the Country-Specific Recommendations.

Europe 2020 (E2020) is a 10-year strategy for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. In Spain, this strategy is developed through the different National Programmes of Reforms, which, since 2011, annually define medium-term national objectives as well as the economic policy measures to achieve them.

The National Programme of Reforms for 2014 wass established as a continuation of the previous National Programmes of Reforms, although it started with a more favourable economic situation. Its main lines of action were to make further progress on structural reforms and to promote the economic recovery and job creation, all essential pillars for a solid and sustainable growth.

The National Programme of Reforms for 2015 corresponds to the last phase of the process of reforms initiated by the Spanish Government in 2012. It comprises two mutually reinforcing priorities: complete the reforms initiated in previous years and continue promoting economic recovery and job creation.

The National Programme of Reforms for 2016 accounts for the fulfilment of the commitments undertaken so far and outlines the measures that should be taken to sustain growth and job creation over the coming years.

The specific recommendations that the Council, within the framework of the sixth European Semester (2016), has established for Spain in the field of education and training are the following:

  • adopt further measures to improve labour market integration, by focusing on individualised support and increasing the effectiveness of training measures. Improve the capacity of regional employment services and strengthen their coordination with social services. Improve family support systems, by including access to childcare and quality long-term care
  • adopt further measures to improve the relevance of higher education for the labour market, among others, by establishing incentives for cooperation between universities, companies and the research sector. Increase the result-based financing of public research organisations and universities and adopt measures to stimulate research and innovation.

For more information, see Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education.

Actions within the framework of the following two structural reforms are being undertaken since 2014 in the fields of education, training and employment:

  • modernisation of public administrations and services
  • labour market: flexibility, training and education.

Overall national education strategy and key objectives

The following actions, that are leading to a series of reforms in the fields of education, training and employment, are being developed since 2014:

2014, 2015 and 2016 National Programmes of Reforms. Actions related to education, training and employment

Actions

Reforms and policy developments

Modernisation of public administrations and services

  1. a Working Group, intended to ensure effective implementation of the principle of budgetary stability by public administrations, was set up within the Council for Finance and Tax Policy in 2014. Its main objective is to rationalise spending and increase savings in education, among other areas, by improving the efficiency of regional public spending. A systematic catalogue with more than 450 measures that have been taken into account by the Autonomous Communities when preparing their budgets for 2015 was presented by the Group in July of the same year
  2. the measures adopted in 2012 in order to increase the effectiveness of education expenditure and comply with the structural effort that has to be undertaken in the field of education are maintained in 2015. These measures are monitored through the Economic and Financial Plans and the Adjustment Plans of the Autonomous Communities

Labour market: flexibility, training and education

  1. measures for older workers to remain in or return to the labour market. In 2014, different measures for adults to remain in or return to the labour market continued being developed, such as the flexibilisation of adult education provision, the development of the ‘Mentor Classroom’ initiative for the flexible training of adults and the implementation of the Strategic Lifelong Learning Plan
  2. development of the training and learning contract for young people under 30. In 2015, some aspects of this contract have been modified: the adaptation of its complementary training activities to the Training Specialisations File established under current law, as well as membership by organisations providing such training of the Training Institutions and Organisations Registry. In addition, the figure of the company tutor is introduced
  3. actions to increase and update the certificates of professional experience and vocational training qualifications, disseminate dual vocational training among citizens and companies, and increase public-private partnerships in order to develop this type of training continued being carried out in 2014. 55 new certificates of professional experience have been approved throughout 2014. For detailed information on certificates of professional experience, see the following link
  4. increase in the degree of effectiveness of active employment policies: The 2014-2016 Spanish Strategy for Employment Activation, which develops, among others, actions aimed at improving the employability of young people, people aged over 55 and the long-term unemployed, was implemented during the first semester of 2014. The Strategy has continued being developed during 2015 and 2016 together with new measures and the establishment of the regulations on employment programmes, which will complement the Common Employment Services Portfolio of the National Employment System
  5. the 2015 Annual Employment Policy Plan was approved and implemented
  6. development of a new training system for employed and unemployed workers. In March 2015, the reform of the model of vocational training for employment, based on the principles of transparency, control of the management of public resources, competitive procedures and evaluation of the quality of training, was approved
  7. the measures established in the 2013-2016 Strategy for Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment, whose aim is to enable young people to gain work experience through training measures, continued being developed in 2014. One of these measures was the promotion of the National Plan for the Implementation of Youth Guarantee, through which young people aged under 25 who do not study, work or receive training are offered personalised guidance
  8. improvement in labour intermediation services, in order to match labour supply and demand throughout the national territory. One of the main measures for the development of this action wass the implementation, during the first semester of 2014, of the Employment and Self-Employment Portal EMPLÉATE. The Portal provides access to around 20 000 job offers and 80 000 vacancies
  9. in 2015, the European Commission invested EUR 8 533 million from the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative in order to improve employment, education and training and support social inclusion through the Employment, Training and Education Operational Programme, the Technical Assistance Operational Programme and regional operational programmes
  10. improvement of educational quality and reduction of school drop-out rates through the reform of compulsory and post-compulsory education, which began to be implemented in the 2014/15 academic year. In 2015/16, the educational reform begins to be implemented in secondary education, with the goal of retaining larger numbers of students in the education system and offering training paths more oriented towards employability. In 2016, the principles regulating the final evaluations at the end of  compulsory secondary education and Bachillerato are established in order to implement them in the 2016/17 academic year. In 2016, the principles regulating the final evaluations at the end of compulsory secondary education and Bachillerato are established in order to implement them in the 2016/17 academic year
  11. reform of vocational training qualifications, adapting them to the different professional fields and improving student access. Revision of their contents and of the certificates of professional experience. The new intermediate vocational training cycles, aimed at reinforcing certain lifelong learning skills as well as others related to specific professional fields, are being implemented in the 2015/16 academic year in order to facilitate transition in vocational training provision
  12. reform of university studies in order to boost their competitiveness, excellence and internationalisation. During 2014, measures to rationalise the number of university degrees and increase their quality were taken, and a new teaching and research staff selection system based on excellence and the promotion of the internationalisation of Spanish universities was established. In 2015, the duration of Bachelor and Master degrees has been flexibilised and the organisation of credits within Bachelor programmes has been reformed. In addition, the recognition of studies undertaken abroad is being facilitated and the employability of the different university degrees is being evaluated. The aim is to facilitate the internationalisation of Spanish universities and educational and professional mobility
  13. a new Royal Decree for the creation and recognition of universities and university institutions, which simplifies and flexibilises the conditions for the beginning of activities, has been approved in 2015
  14. a Royal Decree modifying the conditions for national accreditation in order to have access to the university teaching staff, aimed at simplifying accreditation procedures and facilitating their transparency and objectivity, has been approved in 2015
  15. the new criteria to promote the improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of the system of grants and financial support in post-compulsory and university education were applied in the 2014/15 academic year. They include academic performance criteria, in order to encourage effort and dedication. The number of possible beneficiaries of grants for studies leading to the award of an official Master’s degree has been increased in the 2015/16 academic year. Some requirements to be awarded a Bachelor grant have been improved in the 2016/17 academic year. 

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 National Programmes of Reforms.

Overall national education strategy following the formation of the new Spanish Government

A new Government was formed in October 2016. In his inaugural address, the President mentioned several measures and reforms related to education and training that will be considered during the current parliamentary term:

  • encouragement of a National Pact for Education with the following objectives:
    • guarantee access to the education system by reinforcing the policy of grants
    • ensure that students’ specific needs are addressed
    • combat early school leaving and school failure
    • promote coexistence in the classroom.
  • approval of the Teaching Staff Statute, in order to improve access and the development of their professional career
  • creation of 100 000 dual vocational training places
  • establishment of measures to strengthen Spanish universities and improve their governance, funding and dynamism, with the aim of generating modern and quality universities of excellence, that pay attention to both equity and students’ effort, as well as providing an adequate framework for the development of the teaching and research career
  • plan to tackle unemployment, with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of active employment policies and promoting an extensive training plan for the unemployed, through training cheques, which enable users to choose the most appropriate courses for their needs
  • improvement of training in digital skills.

Overview of the education reform process and drivers

The Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, which modifies the 2006 Education Act, has been published in the Spanish Official Gazette of 10/12/2013. It began to be implemented in the 2014/15 academic year.

The main aims of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education are to:

  • reduce the early school leaving rate in education and training
  • improve the educational results according to international criteria, regarding both the comparative rate of excellent students and the rate of students holding the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate
  • improve employability
  • stimulate the students’ entrepreneurial spirit.

The principles around which the reform is built are:

  • increase of school autonomy
  • reinforcement of the management capacity of school leaders
  • external evaluations at the end of each stage
  • rationalisation of the education provision
  • increase in the flexibility of pathways.

The educational provision of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education will be gradually implemented.

              Calendar for implementation of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education

School year

Stage of education/Type of provision

Years

Elements

2014/15

Primary education

1st, 3rd and 5th

Curriculum, organisation, objectives, progression and evaluations

Basic vocational training cycles

1st(1)

 

Rest of curricular changes established in the Act

2015/16

Primary education

2nd, 4th and 6th

Curriculum, organisation, objectives, progression and evaluations

Compulsory secondary education

1st and 3rd

Curriculum, organisation, objectives, requirements for the award of certificates, programmes, progression and evaluations

Bachillerato

1st

Basic vocational training cycles

2nd

 

Intermediate vocational training

 

Curriculum

2016/17

Compulsory secondary education

2nd and 4th

Curriculum, organisation, objectives, requirements for the award of certificates, programmes, progression and evaluations

Bachillerato

2nd

All other types of provision regulated by the Act

 

Conditions for access and admission

(1) the compulsory modules of initial vocational qualification programmes will cease to be offered. During the 2014/15 academic year, students who successfully complete the voluntary modules of initial vocational qualification programmes will obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate

(2) during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 academic years, students who have been awarded the Basic Vocational Training Certificate may also obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate, provided that the teaching team considers that they have achieved the objectives of compulsory secondary education and acquired the relevant skills in the final evaluation of the training cycle. The final mark for compulsory secondary education will be the average of the grades obtained in the vocational modules associated to common areas. It is a temporary measure until the external evaluation at the end of compulsory secondary education is implemented.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of the Act 8/2013, of 9 December 2013, on the Improvement of the Quality of Education.