Spain: Students strike against education reforms

Issue 

The following statement is from the Student Union of Los Herran, a public school in Vitoria-Gasteiz in the Basque Country.

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Thousands of high-school students and teachers walked out of class all across Spain on October 26.

The strike was in protest against the Legislation for Improving the Quality of Education (LOMCE) reforms proposed by the Spanish education minister Jose Ignacio Wert. Further strikes are planned.

The education reforms aim to create an elitist, authoritarian and sexist education system. Students will be subject to classification exams, and on the basis of these exams will be pushed into different educational streams. As early as Year 9, students will be channelled into vocational training.

Maths, Science, Spanish, History and English are being given more weight in determining the educational future of each student. Philosophy, Citizenship and Art Education as well as regional languages such as Basque and Catalan are relegated to secondary status. Financial studies are being introduced.

In short, critical reasoning is being crossed out in favour of preparation for a neoliberal economy. The exception is religious studies, which will now be included in the average grade for year 11 and 12 students.

Changes in funding are also reactionary. Private schools in Catalunya which do not teach in Catalan are set to receive government funding. This is also true for single-sex schools.

Further changes affect school democracy. Until now the Association of Parents, Students and Teachers (AMPA) has had a say in allocating the budget and haS been able to influence teaching methodology. With the reforms, these powers will be stripped and passed to school principals.

Principals will also be given the power to hire and fire, and teachers will be obliged to cover materials outside their area of expertise.

Because it is a neoliberal and sexist reform, because it imposes centralisation and because it doesn’t fight for a quality public education for all of us, Spain’s students say “NO” to LOMCE!

Students are indignant and angry, and we are trying to destroy this backward reform. They aren’t going to manipulate us suppressing our ideology. We are humans, and our capacity to think is stronger than any other oppression.


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