February 19, 2024


Barely 57% of Spaniards consider that the money and time invested in the University “is justified by the subsequent benefits”, according to the first barometer on the University of the Knowledge and Development Foundation ―made up of large companies Spanish- that has been made public this Wednesday; 39% believe that there is no return. Although they consider that more funding should be provided to adapt it to the needs of society, there are many buts: 70% reproach that it is too theoretical and impractical, 48% consider that it does not adapt to the demands of the market and half do not Help stop the climate crisis.

23% of university students would have chosen another campus to study and only 11% of those who do not have higher education believe that they made the right decision by leaving school, according to the FCyD study. A third of those surveyed believe that there is an overqualification of university graduates. This figure is reflected in Eurostat data: 37% of workers in Spain have more studies than those required for the position they hold, the highest percentage in the European Union. But also having studies is a refuge in bad times: 90% of the workers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic had a low level of training.

Despite evaluating individual revenue poorly, 8 out of 10 Spaniards have a “positive or very positive” perception of the institution ―the opinion is low among young people, 30% have a “regular or bad” opinion―. “The University indirectly contributes to increasing income tax and VAT collection by 25,774 million euros per year, a figure equivalent to 2.4 times its budget,” the report states. The socioeconomic contribution of the Spanish University System (SUE), prepared by the Valencian Institute of Economic Research (Ivie) for rectors. This without counting his contribution to innovation or quality employment.

The studies also highlight the benefits of continuing to study. Spaniards with less education not only live less -between three and five years less than those who have up to primary education-, but they do so in worse conditions and have a lower perception of well-being, according to a study by the Autonomous University of Barcelona with data of the National Statistics Institute. FCyD has an impact on this: 87% of those surveyed perceive the University as a catalyst for well-being and personal enrichment and 86% for professional development.

78% of those interviewed believe that investment in this institution should increase. A percentage that decreases as one descends in the income distribution. The new university law, LOSU, requires a larger game to get going. The president of the rectors, Juan Romo, was very clear in the Congress of Deputies: “The Spanish university system is between 8,000 and 9,000 million euros and another 2,000 or 3,000 would have to be added to reach that 1% of financing ( the amount claimed by the Ministry of Universities from the autonomous communities)”.

6% of university students would opt for Higher Vocational Training to start over, due to their excellent professional opportunities in a short time (two courses after the Baccalaureate) and with salary during internships in the case of the dual. The Achilles heel of this dual formation is that the system cannot take on all stakeholders. The projection on the future of employment Skills Forecastprepared by the European agency Cedefop, calculated in 2018 that, from that year to 2030, the new jobs created in Spain will require 65% of professionals with medium qualifications (FP) and 35% with high qualifications (FP of higher education and university graduates), which gives an idea of ​​the drive for other types of qualifications.

Carles Ramió, professor of Political Science, warns in his book The university at the crossroads: “Accrediting universities are appearing that do not offer any degree, but limit themselves to formalizing non-regulated training that citizens have been acquiring on their own (via MOOCs or via courses in organizations outside the university system)”. And he goes further in his reflection: “If the market recognizes others the same or more, having a university degree will only serve to be a civil servant.”

The president of the rectors, Romo, also stressed in Parliament that the Spanish university system “is the third largest in the EU after Germany and France, ranks 11th in the world in scientific production and ninth in highly cited researchers”. Its average quality is very acceptable ―the seventh country in the world that registers a higher proportion of universities among the first thousand of the ranking from Shanghai—but it’s a long way from Olympus, led by huge-budget US and UK campuses. However, for almost a third of those surveyed, Spanish universities are behind European ones.

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