Europe

Spanish school and university protest at education cuts

  • 22 May 2012
  • From the section Europe
Teachers' demonstration in Valencia - 16 May
Government cuts have triggered a variety of protests throughout Spain

Schools and universities in Spain have closed in protest at government cuts - the first ever strike across all levels of public education in the country.

Pupils, parents and teachers have joined the protests.

The cuts will see class sizes increase, teachers will have to work more hours for the same pay and university tuition fees will increase by up to 25%.

The government says the cuts, of more than 20%, are necessary so it can meet its spending targets for this year.

It believes this is crucial for the Spanish economy to start growing again.

The strike is taking place in all regions of Spain except for the Basque Country and the Balearic Islands.

Since winning power in December's elections, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to undertake harsh austerity measures, promising major reforms every week.

The protests come just over a week after police cleared anti-austerity demonstrations from the Puerta del Sol square in central Madrid.

Evening marches

Andreu Vela, a 21-year-old journalism student at Madrid's Complutense University, dressed up as the Grim Reaper to march around the campus with his fellow demonstrators.

"For us, the university so far has been a place of knowledge, that's our idea of the university - now it's becoming a place of recruiting armies of workers," he told the Associated Press news agency.

"This strike is necessary because we have to tell everyone what it means to cut spending in a country where education is not as good as in other countries," Begonia Sanchez, a long-time schoolteacher who now runs an educational centre, told Reuters in Madrid.

Ms Sanchez was planning to attend an evening protest march in the capital. Similar demonstrations are planned in cities across the country.

Ricardo Sanchez, father of a school pupil in Madrid, told AP he was against the strike.

"It does not convince me," he said.

"I work many hours a day and I think everybody should do that, I think it's the best we can do in this crisis. We should all work hard."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites