Wednesday, December 1

Castells carries out its university law, which condemns the closure of 1 in 3 private centers

The Minister council will approve this Tuesday the Royal Decree (RD) that regulates the creation of universities in Spain. A complex legislative document with the signature of Manuel Castells and by which, according to independent studies, a tripped up private centers: it will force one out of three to close.

The main objective of the Government of Spain with this RD is to set a series of minimum requirements to ensure the viability and “quality” of public and private educational centers.

In this way, the RD regulates granting the category of university center depending on the number of current degrees, the amount of research work carried out in the institution, the characteristics of the teaching staff (temporary nature or hours worked) or, even, the quality of the facilities.

One of the most controversial points during its writing has been to demand that the university offer degrees in at least 3 of the 5 branches of knowledge (Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Health Sciences, Social and Legal Sciences and Engineering and Architecture). Own National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) crossed out this requirement as excessive just a month ago.

In a report published on July 8, the CNMC stated that the need to offer degrees in at least 3 of the 5 branches of knowledge “is not linked to a higher quality of university service.”

“Neither does the limitation of the weight of undergraduate degrees and permanent training. These requirements can reduce the specialization capacity of university centers and their ability to take advantage of economies of scale in certain cases,” they assured from the CNMC.

1 in 4

On the other hand, the Parliamentary group Citizens in the European Commission In March, he addressed the request of Parliament, considering that this royal decree could lead to the closure of one in three private centers, based on a study prepared by the Observatory of the University System (OSU).

The MEP José Ramón Bauzá stated that asking each faculty a minimum number of assigned degrees (10), masters (6) and doctoral programs (3) can be an impediment for universities focused on specific areas, such as business.

In this sense, the Observatory of the University System compared the current requirements to start a university with those proposed by Castells. According to this independent entity, only 1 in 4 universities (public and private) analyzed could pass the cut of the rule. If it took place in the private the number was reduced to 1 in 3.

The report that is titled What can be called a university?, it leaves latent that most private universities do not have enough doctoral programs to meet Castells’ demands.

The same goes for research. At the moment there is no rule that regulates this point, but the RD of Castells is going to require a minimum number of posts and that 60% of the teachers have their research activity accredited, at least once (one six-year term). According to the aforementioned report, that only happens in one of the 33 private universities analyzed.

Problems for the public

Although the impediment for private companies is clear, the requirements of the norm also leave latent embarrassments from public education. Especially if we talk about the temporary nature of their teachers.

According to a study by OSU, public centers exceed by six percentage points the limit of temporary contracts allowed under the new law.

Currently, the average of temporary contracts in Spain is 46%, while the norm marks 40% as a ceiling. Disaggregated by type of management, temporary employment in public centers rises to 47% and in private centers it is 40.3%.

Thus, in total there are 45 centers in Spain (of the 81 analyzed by the OSU) that exceed the maximum of 40% of temporality allowed by law. Of these, 32 are public (two out of three state centers) and 13 are private (39.4%).

Until now, this 40% was regulated in the private sector, but it was not controlled (in fact, the current temporary average is 46%). What he intends to do government is to make the 40% ceiling a mandatory requirement.

Autonomous communities

The standard reinforces the role of Autonomous communities when validating new universities. It will be the regions who have to control whether or not a university meets the requirements of the new law.

Something that the CNMC also questions. The independent body recommends that the Council of Universities participate in the institutional accreditation system of university centers.

In addition, the CNMC considers that “the sustainability requirements of public universities should be linked to the compliance with quality indicators“.

Castells Response

Despite this, the Minister of Universities has defended during the last year his educational project as a way to fight against “pseudouniversidades“which, in his opinion, are increasingly proliferating in our country.

The truth is that the requirement of the minimum number of degrees or branches of knowledge ties hand and foot to small universities that offer a handful of their own degrees.

“If they are universities with minimum criteria of what a university is, the more there are, the better, and that the market decides. Now, if there is a proliferation of any type of business project called University, that’s a problem, “said the minister in an interview for Europa Press.

Castells argues that the requirement that a private university have six master’s degrees, 10 undergraduate degrees, and 3 doctoral programs is “absolutely minimal in terms of international standards.”

The minister maintains that he intends to stop with his DR a “speculative wave of investment funds in the higher education market. “Something that, in his opinion, is currently happening in Spain and makes education” a commodity “with the” lowest cost and highest possible profit. “

Castells stresses that the rule gives one five year margin so that private and public centers meet their demands. Even so, those affected believe that it is “insufficient” time.

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