Educational System in Spain
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Reforming the Educational System in Spain
The educational system in Spain was altered in the year 1991; one year after the Ley Organica de Ordenacion General del Sistema Educativo (LOGSE) (Law on the General Organization of the Educational System) was passed. Improving the infrastructure provides for free and compulsory education for students 15 and younger. All students must receive training for basic vocational skills during their secondary education. The educational system in Spain also provides for religious instruction, which is optional depending on the choice of the students.
Six Stages of the Educational System in Spain
The educational system in Spain is organized in six stages: infant education from years 3 to 6, primary education from years 6 to 12, compulsory secondary education from 12 to 16 years of age, post-secondary education, which includes the middle grade of vocational training from 16 to 17 years of age, and university education. Schools in Spain can be divided into state schools, privately run schools funded by the state, and purely private schools. According to data for the year 2008-2009, state schools educated 67.4%, private but state funded schools 26.0%, and purely private schools 6.6% of pupils the preceding year.
In Primary Education, students study the Spanish language, Math, Conocimiento del Medio (a compendium of biology, history, geography, general and local knowledge and social awareness), Physical Education, Arts and Crafts, and a second language, usually English. A wider range of subjects are taught in Secondary Education, including a language choice between French and English. At the end of four years, students may leave school, or attend a two-year Bachelor´s academic course (in Arts, Humanities, Natural and Health Sciences and Technology), or enroll in practical training courses on office and administrative skills, mechanics, catering, and hairdressing.
Successful baccalaureate students attend a university of their choice to pursue higher education. The most notable Spanish universities are the Complutense University of Madrid, the University of Barcelona, the University of the Basque Country, the Technical University of Madrid, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the University of Granada and Carlos III University of Madrid.
Students of the educational system in Spain are admitted once a year in September, according to the calendar year of their birth. The registration period for all ages is in May for the following September, and may be done via the local town hall, or by applying directly to a school. The school year starts in mid-September and ends in the third week of June. There is usually a break of two weeks at Christmas and about a week and a half for Easter. There are no half-term holidays as such, but there are short breaks throughout the year, which are organized around national, regional and local saints´ days and festivals. There are two kinds of timetables: a divided day, which allows at least two hours for lunch, or the innovation of the “jornada continua,” a blocked day which finishes in the early afternoon.
Higher Education in Spain
Higher education in Spain is set up in three sections: undergraduate studies, graduate studies (Masters) and post-grad studies (PH.D). Spain has over 70 universities, and of those seventy are public schools. Large and important cities–like Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia–have the highest number of universities. The Complutense in Madrid and the Central in Barcelona are the two largest and most respected state universities.
Undergraduate studies last for three to four years and can consist of any of the following subjects: Social Sciences and Law, Arts & Humanities, Health Sciences, Science, and Engineering and Architecture. Admission to the universities in Spain is determined by the cut-off mark, which is achieved at the end of the Baccalaureate. One or two years is expected for a Master’s degree. Graduate studies provide students with academic, professional or research specialization.
Doctoral degrees are a result of postgraduate studies. Two different terms make up most postgraduate programs. The first is theoretical study, the other is practical research. To acquire a doctoral degree, extensive research is required along with a detailed thesis. Three to four years is usually allotted to finishing a doctoral degree, but there are not any time restrictions. Higher Education in Spain can also take the form of an unofficial Masters degree, which is also offered by the Spanish universities. These can be acquired in one or two years, and improves a candidate´s job prospects. They are practical in nature, and geared towards different professions.
The academic calendar for higher education in Spain is more or less similar throughout the country. October begins higher education’s school year and June ends it. February and June mark the examination periods. International students are welcome to seek higher education in Spain. They are eligible for admissions to Spanish universities only if they have degrees that are considered valid by the higher educational system in Spain. Once their degrees are accepted, they need to pass the Spanish university entrance exams, which are given a couple times a year in several countries across the world. International students must then apply directly to the faculty of the programme they are interested in.
In the new millennium, Spain and other European countries have been trying to transform their higher education systems with the plan of creating a European Higher Education Space (EHES). The goal is to complete the process by the end of the first decade of the millennium so that there is uniformity in the academic system and the credit system for measuring academic achievement throughout Europe. This correspondence will increase student mobility and assist the assimilation of graduates into the united European job market.