Education International
Education International

Spain: public education is paying for the crisis

published 30 August 2011 updated 8 September 2011

In a letter to secondary school teachers in Madrid, the city’s region mayor, Esperanza Aguirre, called on teachers’ ‘sense of duty’ in this time of crisis to do two more contact hours a week from the beginning of the new school year.

This will only be possible to the detriment of tutorials, diversity and preparation for lessons.

The announcement follows Madrid Education authorities’ drastic staff cuts. A total of 3,000 teaching posts have been eliminated, amounting to a 10% reduction in teaching staff in the city’s secondary schools.

Other autonomous regional authorities in Spain have also implemented cuts. For instance, in Valencia, over 50 million euros have been cut from the staff budget alone, leaving up to 1,500 teachers out of work. Additionally, there will be 400 teaching support staff less to work with pupils with learning difficulties.

The EI Spanish affiliates: FECCOO, FETE-UGT and STEs, have unanimously opposed these measures, seeing them as endangering  quality public education’s future.  In a joint statement, they criticise “Public education service’s deterioration, including the loss of over 3,000 jobs and worsening of teachers working  conditions. ”

On 15 September, the unions will hold a joint meeting to formulate their response. They do not discount the possibility of organising demonstrations and, if necessary, strikes in face of this controversial start to the school year.