Spaniards rally against public education cuts
Spanish students began a three-day strike on Tuesday against cutbacks in the state education system and a government\'s project which forces pupils to choose earlier either an academic or a vocational path.
The Spanish cabinet
approved on May 17, 2013 a controversial new bill, the Organic Law for the Improvement of Educational Quality (LOMCE), which forces students to choose either path earlier from academic or vocational education, as it tries to cut a youth unemployment rate of 57 percent.
The strike, which has been called by the Students\' Union, is also in protest at increase of study costs at Spain\'s universities, and at the same time against the government\'s alleged policy to make it more difficult for students to receive grants to study.
The third day of the strike, Thursday, will coincide with the general strike called for Spain\'s entire education system by the major teaching unions and also for the State Platform for Public (state) Schools.
The university students insisted the changes in the law regarding the cost of courses and grants means that \"many people cannot not have higher education,\" and calculated that in the University Complutense in Madrid, around 3,500 students will be unable to pay the matriculation costs of this year\'s course.
Students at the Complutense will hold a lock on for the duration of the strike with many actually beginning their protests on Monday night after arriving for class equipped with sleeping bags for their overnight stays.
The strike came just a fortnight after a study carried out by the OCDE\'s International Program for the Evaluation of Adult Competence (PIACC), which showed the average Spaniard aged between 16-65 is second from bottom, ahead of only Italy, of a list of 23 countries when it comes to reading comprehension, while the Spanish and Italians swap places when it comes to basic maths.
The OCDE study showed the average Spaniard is unable to comprehend the graphics on an electricity bill or to make a comparison between offers in a tourism brochure.