Spanish University System Faces Reform

The Spanish Government’s Council of Ministers has approved the creation of an Expert Committee to reform the Spanish university system which, said the Minister for Education, Culture and Sport, “is an absolute priority”.

José Ignacio Wert explained that in the last few years university education has expanded greatly in Spain. “We have more than 1.5 million students who have been receiving increasingly more public resources; spending per student is the same or higher than the OECD average, but the situation is not satisfactory”, he stated.

In this respect, as reported in the Spanish Government’s website La Moncloa, Wert indicated that there is no Spanish university ranked among the 150 best universities in the world; the university drop-out rate is 30%, almost double the European average of 16%, and that only one third of Spanish graduates complete their studies without repeating a year. These figures demonstrate, in the minister’s opinion, that “we are throwing away more than 3 billion euros”.

The minister added that there are 79 universities in Spain, compared with 10 in California, which has a similar population to Spain, with 2,413 bachelor’s degrees, 2,758 master’s degrees and 1,680 doctorates. These figures, according to José Ignacio Wert, show that “the results and the investment are disproportionate” and “open to improvement”.

The system for regulating universities has not “delivered the results hoped for” either, and hence it is clear, according to the minister, that the Spanish university system needs to be overhauled. To this end, an Expert Committee has been set up, which is “independent, plural and of the highest scientific and academic level”, which will endeavour to “assess, orientate and diagnose, in a period of six months, the situation of the system in order to implement the appropriate reforms”.