Spanish Teachers, Students on Strike Over Austerity Cuts

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Common Dreams

Spanish Teachers, Students on Strike Over Austerity Cuts

Public schools from K to university closed as teachers, students, supporters strike over cuts to education

by
Common Dreams staff

Striking teachers shout slogans during a protest in front of the education ministry in Madrid during a general education strike against educational cuts imposed by the Spanish government May 22, 2012. The banner reads: "Public education for free and secular". (REUTERS/Andrea Comas)

Spain's public schools, from elementary to university levels, are shut down today with students and teachers in a strike against the effects of the government's austerity measures on education.

Unions say the cuts mean 100,000 substitute teachers will be out of work.

Francisco García, leader of the CCOO union, told euronews that "the consequences of these job losses will be a loss of quality and equity in the education system."

The cuts will also increase the average class size by 20%.

17-year-old student Barbara Bass told the Associated Press, "I came to class because my parents forced me. But I support this strike. My parents, for instance, cannot afford the new university fees. We are all going to end up leaving to work in Germany, but without an education."

"Quality public education is in danger of dying," Voro Benavent, spokesman for the Teaching Workers Union, or STE told Reuters news agency. "They are sacrificing our youths' learning because of the crisis."

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BBC News: Spanish school and university protest at education cuts

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%. [...]

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

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Reuters: Teachers strike across Spain, protesting cuts

MADRID - Spanish teachers went on strike on Tuesday to protest against cuts in education spending that labour unions say will put 100,000 substitute teachers out of work but that the government says are needed to tackle the euro zone debt crisis.

The central government has ordered Spain's 17 autonomous regions to cut 3 billion euros (2 billion pounds) from education spending this year as part of a tough programme to trim the public deficit to an EU-agreed level of 5.3 percent of gross domestic product. [...]

Critics say the government is spending billions of euros to rescue banks that got into trouble after the property market crashed, while it cuts spending on schools and hospitals. [...]

The central government's education reform also raises the average number of students in each class by 20 percent.

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