News / Europe

Education Cuts, Higher Costs Spark Protests in Spain

Students enter Luis Vives secondary school as teachers protest cuts in public education in Valencia, Spain, September 14, 2012.
Students enter Luis Vives secondary school as teachers protest cuts in public education in Valencia, Spain, September 14, 2012.
Caroline Arbour
University, primary and secondary school students are returning to classrooms in Spain against the backdrop of an economic crisis that is affecting education. The loss of subsidies coupled with the increased costs of education also are having an effect in other troubled European economies.

Antonio Caseado is lining up at the unemployment office. After two years working as an interim high school teacher, he is out of a job.

Caseado is one of 4,000 teachers in the Spanish province of Andalusia who have been laid off as a result of a 21-percent budget cut included in the government’s austerity package, unveiled last spring.
 
Unions estimate that tens of thousands of primary and secondary school teachers are finding themselves in Caseado’s position. Those who remain have seen their teaching hours increase and in some regions, the number of students in their classrooms has grown.

Spain’s largest labor union worries these are not temporary measures to bring the country’s finances out of the red.

"The government is trying to change our education system," said Labor leader Manuela Martínez, who heads the General Workers’ Union in Granada. "And they are using the crisis as an excuse to do what they are doing. If they continue, nobody in Spain will really recognize what we had.”

There is another problem. Cuts to subsidies for textbooks and for cafeteria meals, coupled with the increases in the value-added tax, have made back-to-school very expensive for families.

The consumers’ defense organization [OCU] estimates parents will have to spend an average of about $670 per child.

Spaniards seeking access to higher education also will feel the impact. Scholarship programs have been reduced and tuition at public universities has gone up by as much as 50 percent in some places.

Adding to the grim situation, about one-in-five unemployed Spaniards is a university graduate.

The Organization for Economic Development says Spain spends 21 percent more than the average OECD-member country spends on education, yet its students have some of the worst outcomes on international tests.

And a recent OECD report warns of the effects of further cuts on accessibility.

OECD Deputy Director for Education Andrea Schleicher said the crisis highlights the need for more highly-skilled workers.

“Over the past decade more than two-thirds of economic growth in the European Union was driven by labor-income growth. That is basically better skills,” said Schleicher.

He added that it has driven growth in the majority of EU countries, even in the midst of the recession.

But even if higher education may be key to dampening the effects of the crisis, other debt-ridden countries, like Spain, have chosen to slash spending in that area.

Greece has decreased its education budget by 23 percent since 2009.

Italy cut university scholarships by 90 percent and laid off more than 100,000 teachers, though deeper measures were averted by widespread protests in 2010.

Additionally, the European Students’ Union reports thousands of Portuguese university students have been forced to drop out because of reductions in support services.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rob Swift from: United Kingdom
September 17, 2012 4:14 PM
I understand that the Spanish economy is in a far worse state than they let on. It follows on from a complete collapse of a boom based on property which now stands there incomplete (no certificates of habitation means the electricity and water cannot be turned on) or paid for but only part built as the builders have all gone broke. Buyers have lost everything after having signed up to pay.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid