Education International
Education International

Spain: Unions march for public education

published 20 October 2011 updated 24 October 2011

On 22 October, teaching unions have organised a march through Madrid to protest against the public education cuts being imposed by autonomous regional authorities within the country.

EI members: FETE-UGT; FECCOO; FE-STES and CSI-F, have all joined forces to say with one voice that Spanish teachers will not stand by as public education system collapses.

The cuts are affecting more than a dozen autonomous regions where the governments are implementing a series of  ‘general measures’ to, ostensibly, respond to the financial crisis.

However, the brutal attack on the public education system includes a 12-15 per cent decrease in education budgets, the addition of two more contact hours each week for teachers, and the dismissal of 13,000 teachers. Cuts will mostly affect education diversity programmes and complementary services; while the introduction of a public early childhood education system for children aged 0-3 has been put on hold, leaving it as a private provision. In solidarity with Spanish teachers, EI is joining the ETUC and teacher unions from across Europe to actively participate in the protest march against cuts and in defence of public schools.

On 21 October, EI’s General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, and EI President, Susan Hopgood, will take part in a panel of experts roundtable on ‘equity and equality in education’ to bring a global trade union perspective on the situation in Spain.

Teachers, politicians, journalists and union leaders will also attend a series of connected events, with union representatives from Portugal (FENPROF and FNE); Italy (CGIL); France (SNES, FEW); England (NASUWT), and Ireland (IFUT).

Commenting on the crisis in Spain, Fred van Leeuwen said: “Quality public education for all is a guarantee of peaceful co-existence and a source of social progress. Now, more than ever, the struggle against school failure and dropout should be a priority. Without investment in education, social inequalities will jeopardise the country’s progress for the next decades.”

Spanish unions have prepared a joint statement, supported by EI, to call on the autonomous regional governments, as well as the central government, to put an end to cuts, and invest seven per cent of Gross Domestic Product on education, as a prerequisite for exit of the economic crisis.

To join the petition in defence of public education, please click here

FE-STES Video "Teachers are the future" (in Spanish)

FETE-UGT Video against education cuts (in Spanish)

Opinion article CSI-F (in Spanish)