Education: a guaranteed right that must be updated

The lack of concretion of the Constitution’s article 27, which regulates the right to education, allowed reaching a minimum agreement among all political sensitivities in 1978 - but has not generated the necessary consensus to guarantee the stability of the Spanish educational system, which already accumulates eight educational laws in 40 years.

"Access to education for all is now a reality and in 1978 it was not", says Anna Jolonch, professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Barcelona, who says that in this sense "you cannot be pessimistic". Now, this right to education is being redefined. Jolonch points out, on the one hand, that one thing is to achieve access to studies - and another one is to achieve knowledge. "There are still many inequalities on a result level, and Spain is the country in Europe with most school failure", she says. 17.9% of students leave their studies early, while the European average is 10%. In addition, the right to education is no longer only the right to have an allotted school seat, but now it must also be understood as the right to "relevant and meaningful learning for all", says the director of the Bofill Foundation, Ismael Palacín, who ensures that it is necessary, therefore, to question what is the most effective learning methodology.

School is not free

Nor is point 4 of the article fulfilled. The Constitution says that basic education is "compulsory and free". While it is true that full schooling has been achieved in the 3-16 year stage, experts warn that the Magna Carta gives few guarantees for the 0-3 ages. "It is not only a stage of care but it is educationally relevant, due to the opportunities disadvantaged families miss ", says Palacín. Regarding the fact that education is free, they denounce that it has never been fulfilled, neither in partly subsidized school s where monthly fees are paid - nor in state school s , where families pay 148 million euros each school year for services that should be free, such as the material s or the days out , as calculated by the Fapac. "Any payment is a barrier in terms of inequality and segregation", says Palacín.

Jolonch considers that there are two pending challenges in the Constitution (and in successive education laws): guaranteeing more public spending to get closer to the European average of 5% of GDP -Catalunya invests 3.7% - and being able to implement key policies, like the inclusive school decree, and create a long-term consensus to make "country laws, not political party laws". A milestone, for now, which is far away.

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