Education in Spain

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Education in Spain
MinisterioEducacion.svg
Ministry of Education
Minister José Ignacio Wert
General details
Primary languages Spanish alongside co-official languages within respective regions, including Catalan, Basque and Galician
System type Democratic Constitutional Monarchy (check for accuracy)
Literacy (2003)
Total 98.1
Male 98.8
Female 97.4
Enrollment
Total 5,917,074
Primary 2,479,631
Secondary 1,871,430
Post secondary 1,566,013
Attainment
Secondary diploma 45.4%
Post-secondary diploma 38.1%

The current system of education in Spain is known as LOE after the Ley Orgánica de Educación, or Fundamental Law of Education. Education in Spain is compulsory, and free from 6 to 16 years of age, supported by the Government in each Region.

Up to Secondary level[edit]

Below Higher Education the system can be seen as consisting of four levels:

  • Pre-school (Educación Infantil, segundo ciclo) - 3 to 6 years of age
  • Primary School (Educación Primaria) six years of schooling - 6 to 12 years of age
  • Compulsory Secondary Education (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria) four years of schooling - 12 to 16 years of age (15 year olds also may be included in England)
  • Post-Compulsory Schooling (Bachillerato) two years of schooling - 16 to 18 years of age

Children 3 to 6 years old in Spain have the option of attending the Pre-school stage ( preescolar or popularly known as infantil), which is non-compulsory and free for all students. It is regarded as an integral part of the education system with infants' classes at almost every primary school. There are some separate nursery schools (Colegios Infantiles).

Children (whose parents chose that they should) enter pre-school (Educación Infantil) in the autumn of the calendar year in which they turn three years old. Following this pattern, the ages given here as corresponding to the different phases are the ages turned by children in the calendar year in which the academic year begins. Age ranges are inclusive: 3 to 5 years of age is 3 academic years.

Spanish students aged 6 to 16 undergo primary (colegio) and secondary school (instituto) education, which are compulsory and (like the preceding preschool from age 3) free of charge. Successful students are awarded a Secondary Education Certificate, which is necessary to enter the post-compulsory stage of Schooling (principally the Bachillerato) for their University or Vocational (Formación Profesional) Studies. Once students have finished their Bachillerato, they can take their University Entrance Exam (Pruebas de Acceso a la Universidad, popularly called Selectividad) which differs greatly from region to region. The compulsory stage of secondary education is normally referred to by its initials: ESO (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria).

Primary school[edit]

Structured as three year cycles:

  • First Cycle (6 to 8 years of age)
  • Second Cycle (8 to 10 years of age)
  • Third Cycle (10 to 12 years of age)

Spanish Baccalaureate (Bachillerato)[edit]

Spanish Bachillerato is the post-16 stage of education, comparable to the A Levels/Higher (Scottish) in the UK, the French Baccalaureate in France or the International Baccalaureate.

There are two parts, a core curriculum with the compulsory subjects, and a specialist part with a few pre-selected branches to choose from. The core curriculum is as follows:

  • Spanish Language and Literature: 1st and 2nd years
  • Co-official language (in case of Catalan, Basque and Galician): 1st and 2nd years
  • First foreign language (English, French, German or Italian; mostly English): 1st and 2nd years
  • Philosophy: 1st year
  • History of Philosophy: Only 2nd year.
  • Physical Education: Only 1st year
  • Spanish History: Only 2nd year
  • Science to the contemporary world: Only 1st year
  • Optional subject (2nd foreign language, psychology, information technology...): 1st and 2nd year
  • Catholic Religion/All World Religions Studies: 1st and 2nd year (Optional)

The specialist part has up to four subjects (depending on the branch taken).

  • Plastic Arts, Image and Design:
    • Volume (sculpture) (optional on the 2nd year)
    • Artistic drawing
    • Technical drawing (optional on the 2nd year)
    • Audiovisual Culture (first year)
    • History of art (2nd year)
    • Design (2nd year and optional)
    • Plastic Graphic Expression Techniques (2nd year and optional)
    • Information and communication technologies. (Optional)


  • Performing Arts, Music and Dance:
    • Musical Analysis (1st and 2nd year)
    • Applied Anatomy (1st year)
    • Audiovisual Culture (2nd year)
    • Performing Arts (1st year)
    • Musical Language and Practice (1st year)
    • History of Music and Dance (2nd year)
    • Music (Optional)
    • Performing Arts Workshop (2nd year and optional)


  • Nature and Health Sciences:
  • Sciences & Engineering:
    • Physics,
    • Maths,
    • Chemistry,
    • Technical Drawing
    • Industrial Technology
  • Social Sciences:
    • Applied Maths,
    • Economics,
    • Geography,
    • History of the Contemporany World (only 1st year)
  • Humanities:
    • Latin,
    • Greek,
    • History of Art/World Literature (only 2nd year)
    • History of the Contemporany World (only 1st year)

At undergraduate level, some degrees have their own branch requirements (such as medicine, engineering degrees, law...) and some courses accept students from any branch, such as Language studies, Social Work, Educational Sciences or Tourism.

Comparative with British and Irish Qualifications[edit]

The Spanish School Leaving Certificate (ESO) is equivalent to a number of GCSEs, Junior Cert(in Ireland). or Standard Grades(in Scotland).

The Bachillerato is equivalent to A-levels, Leaving Certificate(in Ireland). and Scottish Highers . Therefore, Spanish students obtaining the appropriate grades required for entrance into universities in other parts of Europe, including Britain, are not precluded.

Vocational Training[edit]

The vocational training is also a common possibility after ESO or after the Spanish Baccalaureate. There are two different types of programs: Middle Grade Training Cycles (Ciclos Formativos de Grado Medio), which have the ESO diploma as a requirement, and Superior-level Training Cycles (Ciclos Formativos de grado Superior), which have the Spanish Baccalaureate as the principal requirement. After completion of the Superior-level Training Cycle, students are entitled to direct entrance to several related University degrees.

Provision and Costs[edit]

Schools in Spain can be divided into 3 categories:

  • State schools (colegios públicos)
  • Privately run schools funded by the State (colegios concertados)
  • Purely private schools (colegios privados)

According to summary data for the year 2008-2009[1] from the ministry, state schools educated 67.4%, private but state funded schools 26.0%, and purely private schools 6.6% of pupils the preceding year.

All non-university state education is free in Spain, but parents have to buy all of their children's books and materials. This, nominally at least, also applies to colegios concertados. Many schools are concertados, state funded up to the end of ESO but purely private for the bachillerato years. This drop in the fraction of pupils in educación concertada is matched by increases of approximately equal size in the fraction in both state and purely private education for bachillerato.[1]

There are private schools for all the range of compulsory education. At them, parents must pay a monthly/termly/yearly fee. Most of these schools are run by religious orders, and include single-sex schools.

Schools supply a list of what is required at the start of each school year and which will include art and craft materials as well as text and exercise books. Expect to spend a minimum of around ninety pounds sterling per child[citation needed] (from 2009, this figure is nearer £300 and in 2011 was nearer £500; as of 2011, the cost of books averaged 170 euros for preschool and €300 for primary students.[2] In some regions, the autonomous government is giving tokens to exchange them in book shops for free (due to the economic crisis, this has all but ceased in the Valencian region), this is being adapted in 2006 in regions, such as Andalusia, where kids from 3 to 10 will get the books for free, on the following years it is expected for all compulsory years. School uniform is not normally worn in state schools but is usually worn in private schools.

Admissions to publicly funded schools[edit]

Article 84 of the governing law [3] defines the principles to be applied in the admission of pupils to publicly funded schools. The details of the implementation of these principles vary from autonomous community to autonomous community.

Community of Madrid[edit]

In the Community of Madrid, there is a largely uniform admissions process for state funded schools, both colegios públicos and colegios concertados. Here the main admissions procedures for pupils wishing to join a school in the autumn are carried out in the spring of the year in question.

Parents can choose the school to which they wish to send their child. It is not uncommon that there be insufficient places in a popular school for all the children for whom places are requested. In such cases places are allocated according to rather strictly defined admissions criteria as defined in Annex IX to the order establishing the process.[4]

Extremadura[edit]

The royal decree governing the same process in Extremadura[5] includes admissions criteria structured in a very similar way but differing in the number of points allocated, notably for residence near to the school.

Andalucia[edit]

An analogous decree for 2007 governing the same process in Andalusia[6] is notably different again in the way it allocates points.

School terms[edit]

Broadly similar to the English three term system, but with slightly shorter holidays at Christmas (23 December – 8 January) and Easter (one week - "Semana Santa"), and longer in the summer (normally from 23 June to 15 September). In 2005, the summer holiday ran from 22 June until 1-15 September, depending on the regions. The English half-term holiday does not exist, but there are frequent odd days and long weekends relating mainly to religious holidays and regional and national holidays.

Higher education[edit]

University[edit]

The normal duration for University courses is 4 years, except Medicine, which is 6 years and the double and some other degrees, which are 5 years. University studies have "ECTS credits" as a measure for the lessons, and normally, 60 ECTS are taken each year, so, each course comprises 240 ECTS credits. Passing every subject, and getting the 240 ECTS credits, gives the right to obtaining an academic degree (Grado), architecture or engineering qualification.

Postgraduate courses are Master's degrees (Máster), and Doctoral degrees (Doctorado). Access is regulated by the university itself, through the Doctorate Commission. It is necessary to have the degree course, architecture or engineering.

Own degrees are nonregulated studies leading to an unofficial degree, recognized only by the granting university. These courses have the same structure as the regulated studies.

The universities regulate access to their own degrees and they fix the academic fees. They can also offer unofficial postgraduate degrees.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Data and Numbers for the year 2008-2009 p4, retrieved 25 February 2009, Ministry of Education, Social Policy and Sport
  2. ^ Ambrosoli, Carlos (30 August 2011). "¿Cuánto le va a costar la vuelta al cole?" (TV news report (video)) (in Castillian (Spanish)). Canary Islands, Spain: Antena 3 Canarias. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  3. ^ La Ley Orgánica 2/2006, retrieved 23 September 2009
  4. ^ Annexes to Order Establishing Admissions Process., see Annex IX for criteria for allocating places, retrieved 17 May 2009, The 'Consejeria de Educacion' of the Comunidad de Madrid
  5. ^ Decree 42/2007 - Extremadura., see Annex (there is only one) 'CRITERIOS DE PRIORIDAD PARA LA ADMISIÓN DE ALUMNOS', retrieved 17 May 2009, Boletin Oficial del Estado - Extremadura
  6. ^ Decrehie -----/2007, of the 20th February - Andalucia., retrieved 23 February 2010

External links[edit]