BM 65 – Investment in education and training must be a priority for any government

11.12.2013
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ESU supports peaceful protests and demonstrations by the educational community of the Spanish state against cuts that undermine equal opportunities in access to education and training of any citizen.

In Europe’s history, there have been numerous protests and demonstrations claiming rights, especially among the youth, and therefore, those who defend a quality public education should not be publicly criminalised.

The Spanish government should take into consideration that the demonstrations, not only are a right, but a vital part of democracy and that there is no reason for a government to criminalise systematically the demonstrators while in the end, they just claim their rights.

The education policies at all levels of education should be a priority for any government, as having a well trained and educated society is essential for a social and economic welfare of all states. Hiding budget cuts without a thorough analysis of the medium and long term effect, under the excuse of improving the quality of education, is not acceptable because it would affect very negatively the future generations, and furthermore, the society as a whole.

When we deal with education and training, any legislative change should count for a high consensus, not only politically, but also socially. A law that really improves the quality of a higher education system is what gives stability to the education system. We cannot accept that every four years, there is an attempt to change and implement a new education law, because this weakens, year after year, our education system and this is not positive at all for anyone.

The cuts in education, especially in accessing the education system and accessing the grants’ system, are questioning the equal opportunities of any citizen to be able to study. Education and access to education should be treated as a human right, and therefore, actions with short-term objectives should be avoided.

Executing politics and reforms in education and training without all the education community is not acceptable. Education is understood as a public good and as a solution to the crisis for the youth and the future.

The recent budget cuts in the grant system have narrowed the access to education and higher education mobility. Two doors have been built, one for those who can pay for it and another one for those with less resources.

ESU calls on the Spanish government to change its current policies and aim towards an inclusive education system. The access, progression and completion of higher education should be the basic pillars of governments’ policies.

The responsibility of the cost of education and training cannot be transferred to students and their families, asking them to make an even bigger effort. This undermines equal opportunities, affecting the welfare society at the same time.

The Spanish government must act and support higher education and training, mobility and life long learning. It should not be a privilege.

The reasons are the following:

– Education protects democracy and helps fight against inequality. Even the OECD states that the educational status is closely correlated to democratic participation and caring for disadvantaged and discriminated groups. A highly educated society is a more tolerant and peaceful state.

– A globalised environment and a constantly changing labour market need to have highly skilled and educated people to be able to adapt.

– The EU2020 strategy has as an objective to widen access to higher education. The EU foresees that the demand for highly qualified people will increase significantly in the following years.

– Young people are not responsible for any crisis but they have, for sure, the potential to prevent new crises in the future. We do not believe in any cuts, which undermine opportunities of young people, because this would harm the entire society.

Countries of the EU that have more resources should cooperate with Spain and all other states to overcome the crisis and build a sustainable society to reduce inequality and thus, improve the standard of living in Europe.

It is necessary to establish an economic and socially agreed policy addressing the high dropout rate from school from an inclusive perspective, to help society, but especially those with fewer resources, value higher education as an added value and as a solution for the future. Only this way can the problem with the high unemployment rate be addressed.

As stated by the Lisbon Treaty, access to higher education should be increased, but Spain is currently not aiming at reducing barriers to access to higher education.

A quality education requires a society that believes in the education of its country.

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