A (better) education for citizens

Rafael Puyol. Vicepresident. IE Foundation

4 March 2010

Education should play a key role in the new production model that Spain’s economy needs. But the only way to make that happen is through state action.

It is obvious that we are at a decisive time as far as the future of education in this country is concerned. We need to leave the crisis behind us with a renewed production model that includes the training of human resources as an essential requirement. There is much agreement on this requirement and a general conviction that education will be unable to play a key role if its many insufficiencies and limitations are not addressed.

Improving the system involves everyone, but we already know that things that involve everyone end up involving no one. We need to recognise the role of each player in the education process. Parents and teachers have a specific role, as do educational associations and the unions. However, their contribution and that of other players will not be sufficient to take the system forward if there are no basic agreements between the parties to lay down the major lines of state action, and if there is no agreement between central government and the autonomous communities on its development.

Citizens are well aware of what they want and what they need in terms of education, which is not what we have at present in terms of quality, funding, legislation or regional focus.

Citizens want good education for all with truly equal opportunities in every region in the country. That is what users really want. All that is necessary is for their aspirations to be shared by the various political, national and regional powers that are responsible for defining and improving the system.

The possibility of a pact for education is a good idea, but although they agree with the idea, many citizens doubt that their representatives will reach an agreement on its content. As the minister said this very week, "political objectives need to coincide with those of the citizens". Hence, the pact, which is as desired as it is essential, needs to see the light.

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