Education in Spain

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Education in Spain
MinisterioEducacion.svg
Ministry of Education
Minister Iñigo Méndez de Vigo
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%

Education in Spain is regulated by the Ley General de Educación (LGE, General Law of Education) that expands upon Article 27 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978.[1] Education is compulsory and free for all children aged between 6 and 16 years, and is supported by the national government together with the governments of each of the country's 17 autonomous communities.

Introduction

In Spain, elementary school and middle school are considered basic education or EGB (Educación General Básica). However, there is a traditional distinction between the two, to avoid mixing children with great differences in age. Thus, most schools divide EGB into Primaria (kindergarten or first grade through fifth grade), which is the Spanish equivalent of elementary school; and Secundaria (sixth grade through eighth grade), the Spanish equivalent of middle school.

After eighth grade, students start el instituto (Spanish for high school), which lasts for four years, grouped into two cycles: three years of BUP (Spanish initials for Unified Baccalaureate) and the last year is called COU (Pre-university year).

Up to secondary level

Once students have finished COU, they can take their University Entrance Exam (Pruebas de Acceso a la Universidad, popularly called Selectividad) which differs greatly from region to region.

Basic education (EGB)

Divided into two stages:

  • Primaria (Spanish for elementary school: kindergarten or first grade through fifth grade)
  • Secundaria (Spanish for middle school: grades six through eight)

In elementary school, children study the following subjects:

  • Spanish
  • Foreign language (English, French etc.)
  • Mathematics
  • Basic science
  • Basic history
  • English
  • Art
  • Social studies
  • Physical education

In middle school, there are many changes and electives are introduced. Subjects remain more or less the same as those in elementary school, with little variation depending on the region.

Electives in the sixth grade largely depend on the school and there are not as many as in the seventh or eighth grade, but here are some things pupils can choose at some schools:

  • A year-long research subject for the whole class which is voted by the students
  • Some activities in subjects such as art, social studies ...
  • French (some schools)
  • Electives in which all pupils in middle school can participate

Electives in the seventh grade are those from the sixth grade, but more options are added, from which you can choose:

  • Extra mathematics
  • Extra literature
  • Cinema (some schools)
  • Photo editing (some schools)
  • Economy (some schools)

In the eighth grade, you can choose one more elective. The options vary largely between schools so there is no "common elective" in every middle school.

There are other differences between elementary schools and middle schools:

  • The playground is replaced by a courtyard
  • Recess becomes study period (a.k.a. free period), used either to study or to rest from schoolwork
  • At some schools there is an orchestra in which children can partake if they are able to play an instrument.
  • At most schools lockers are introduced

High school (BUP and COU)

Consists of 4 years, structured as two cycles since the Ley General de Educación (LGE).

  • First Cycle: 1st, 2nd and 3rd year (BUP)
  • Second Cycle: 4th year (COU)

This are the subjects and electives for the first two years of BUP. Note: electives in High School are called E.A.T.P (Spanish initials for Technical and professional teachings and activities).

First year of BUP (9th grade, freshman year) Second year of BUP (10th grade, sophomore year)
Science (geology, biology, physics or chemistry, depending on the school) Science (students can sometimes choose which one to study and thus which class to attend)
Mathematics Mathematics
History (often combined with geography) History (often combined with geography)
Spanish Language and Literature, as well as the co-official language, where applicable Spanish Language and Literature, as well as the co-official language, where applicable
English English
Art Art (depending on the school)
Physical Education Physical Education
Social studies Social studies
Music Classical languages: Latin or Greek (depending on the school)
Possible (not certain) electives at some schools are the following:
  1. Classical Studies
  2. Audiovisual, Visual and Artistic Education
  3. Reading and writing
  4. Technology
  5. Drama
  6. Astronomy
  7. French
Possible (not certain) electives at some schools are the following:
  1. Classical Studies
  2. Audiovisual, Visual and Artistic Education
  3. Reading and writing
  4. Technology
  5. Drama
  6. Astronomy
  7. French

In the third year of BUP (eleventh grade, junior year), students are offered to choose between two options: literature (option A) and STEM (option B).

The compulsory subjects in the third year of BUP are the following:

  • History (often combined with geography)
  • Philosophy
  • English
  • French (some schools)
  • Physical education
  • One or two electives chosen from the E.A.T.P offered (the same ones as in the first and second year)

Option A (literature) in the third year of BUP also includes:

  • Literature
  • Latin
  • Greek
  • Mathematics

Option B (STEM) in the third year of BUP also includes:

  • Physics and chemistry (science I)
  • Geology and biology (science II)
  • Mathematics
  • Literature

Once they are in COU (twelfth grade, senior year), a school year designed for preparation for university, students have four options: STEM, biochemistry, social sciences and linguistics.

The compulsory subjects in COU are:

  • English
  • French (some schools)
  • Literature
  • Philosophy

The STEM option also includes:

  • Mathematics I
  • Physics
  • Two electives from the following:
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Geology
    • Technical drawing

The biochemistry option also includes:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Two electies from the following:
    • Mathematics I
    • Geology
    • Physics
    • Technical drawing

The social sciences option also includes:

  • Mathematics II
  • World History
  • Two electies from the following:
    • Latin
    • Greek
    • World History of Art
    • Literature

The linguistics option also includes:

  • Literature
  • World History
  • Two electies from the following:
    • Latin
    • Greek
    • World History of Art
    • Mathematics II

Provision and Costs

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[2] 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 EGB but purely private for the high school 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 BUP and COU.[2]

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. From 2009, this figure was around £300 and in 2011 was nearer £500; as of 2011, the cost of books averaged 170 euros for preschool and 300 euros for elementary school students.[3] 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 Valencia), 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

The General Law of Education (1970) 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.

Madrid

In 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

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.

Andalucía

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

School terms

Broadly similar to the English three term system, but with slightly shorter holidays at Christmas (23 December – 8 January) and Easter (one week - 40 days after Ash Wednesday), 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. Some school, however, use the two semester system.

International education

As of January 2015, the International Schools Consultancy (ISC)[7] listed Spain as having 210 international schools.[8] ISC defines an 'international school' in the following terms "ISC includes an international school if the school delivers a curriculum to any combination of pre-school, primary or secondary students, wholly or partly in English outside an English-speaking country, or if a school in a country where English is one of the official languages, offers an English-medium curriculum other than the country’s national curriculum and is international in its orientation."[8] This definition is used by publications including The Economist.[9] In 1977 the International Baccalaureate authorized the first school in Spain to teach the Diploma Programme.[10] There are now 86 IB World Schools in Spain, of which 71 deliver an international education but in Spanish.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ Text (in Spanish) of the Ley Orgánica de Educación
  2. ^ a b Data and Numbers for the year 2008-2009 p4, retrieved 25 February 2009, Ministry of Education, Social Policy and Sport
  3. ^ Ambrosoli, Carlos (30 August 2011). "¿Cuánto le va a costar la vuelta al cole?" (TV news report (video)) (in Spanish). Canary Islands, Spain: Antena 3 Canarias. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Annexes to Order Establishing Admissions Process., see Annex IX for criteria for allocating places, retrieved 17 May 2009, Department of Education of the Community of 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
  7. ^ http://www.iscresearch.com/
  8. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  9. ^ https://www.economist.com/news/international/21636757-english-language-schools-once-aimed-expatriates-now-cater-domestic-elites-new
  10. ^ http://www.ibo.org/en/country/ES/
  11. ^ http://www.ibo.org/en/programmes/find-an-ib-school/?SearchFields.Country=ES

External links

  • Spanish Ministry of Education (Spanish)
  • The Spanish university system
  • Spain Study Guide for International Students
  • Courses and universities in Spain
  • Schools and Universities Guide to Study in Spain
  • Spanish Ministry of Education, Social Politics and Sports In Spanish.
  • Information on education in Spain, OECD - Contains indicators and information about Spain and how it compares to other OECD and non-OECD countries
  • Diagram of Spanish education system, OECD - Using 1997 ISCED classification of programmes and typical ages. Also in Spanish
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