Friday, October 25, 2013

Teachers and students unite in Spain against education 'reform'

Students and teachers across Spain have left classrooms to protest against ruinous cuts and attacks on education.

The walkout was called by The Platform for State Education, an alliance of trade unions, student unions and parents' federation Ceapa.

Thousands went on to stage mass rallies across Spain.

Unions CCOO, FETE-UGT and STES-I said 83 per cent of education workers had responded to the strike call, saying the sector was "paralysed due to the repeated attacks by the ministry."

They said the strike was to "defend a model that guarantees equality of opportunity which is being severely attacked by continued cuts to education."

Education Minister Jose Ignacio Wert unveiled a raft of reforms that threaten to turn back the clock to dictator Francisco Franco's era.

The so-called Improvement of Education Quality Bill undoes a number of decisions made during the transition to democracy, such as the ending of attacks on the Catalan language.

Unions have also attacked the elitist elements of the law, including making students choose between academic and technical courses.

The Platform said the cuts and reforms would not solve any problems in education and would result in less social cohesion.

"A society that makes education a commodity ... is a sick society that is bound to collective social suicide."

Students got the ball rolling on Tuesday, with many blockading their schools in protest at the changes and high university tuition fees.

The higher fees have coincided with the government making it harder for students to get grants.

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