Pre-higher education:

Duration of compulsory education:

Age of entry: 6

Age of exit: 16

Structure of school system: Primary

Type of school providing this education: Primary School

Length of program in years: 6

Age level from: 6 to: 12 Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Compulsory Secondary School (Enseñanza Secundaria Obligatoria; Institutos de Educación Secundaria, Colegios Privados y Colegios Concertados)

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 12 to: 16

Certificate/diploma awarded: Graduado en Educación Secundaria Higher Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Post Compulsory Secondary (Enseñanza Secundaria Post Obligatoria) (Institutos de Educación Secundaria, Colegios Privados y  Colegios Concertados)

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 12 to: 16

Certificate/diploma awarded: Título de Bachillerato or Título de Técnico Pre-university

Type of school providing this education: Curso de Orientación Universitaria (COU) (last year available 2001) (Institutos de Educación Secundaria, Colegios Privados y Colegios Concertados)

Length of program in years: 1

Age level from: 17 to: 18

Certificate/diploma awarded: Prueba de acceso a la universidad-selectividad (entrance examination)


School education:

Following the 1990 reform,  primary education lasts for six years and compulsory secondary education (ESO) for four years (from 12 to 16) divided into two two-year cycles (from 12 to 14 and from 14 to 16). It leads to the Graduado en Educación Secundaria Certificate. This certificate is required for a) Bachillerato studies (16 to 18) and b) intermediate vocational training (Ciclos Formativos de Grado Medio). Bachillerato students who have completed all subjects successfully are awarded the Título de Bachillerato (before the 1990 reform students had to complete the Curso de Orientación Universitaria as well). To enter university, students must sit for an entrance examination (Prueba de Acceso a la Universidad). In intermediate vocational training (Ciclos Formativos de Grado medio) students who successfully complete their training are awarded the Certificado de Técnico in the relevant field. This certificate enables them to work in areas related to their training, to pursue further training or study for a Bachillerato.


Higher education:

Higher education is mainly provided by both public and private universities. Universities are divided into facultades universitarias, escuelas técnicas superiores, escuelas universitarias, institutos universitarios, and other centres, notably the colegios universitarios. The Consejo de Universidades (where the Ministry, the Comunidades Autónomas and the Universidades are represented) coordinates the activities of state and private institutions and propose the main lines of educational policy. It also sets up guidelines for the creation of universities, centres and institutes. It can also propose measures concerning advanced postgraduate studies, the defining of qualifications to be officially recognized throughout the country and standards governing the creation of university departments. The legislation on university autonomy provides for administrative, academic and financial autonomy.A new law on Universities (Ley Orgánica de Universidades n° 121/000045)) was voted on 20 December, 2001 and is being implemented.


Main laws/decrees governing higher education:

Decree: Ley de Reforma Universitaria (LRU) Year: 1983

Concerns: Universities

Decree: Ley Orgánica de Ordenación General del Sistema Educativo (LOGSE) Year: 1990

Concerns: All

Decree: Ley Orgánica de Universidades n° 121/000045 Year: 2001

Concerns: Universities

Decree: Ley Orgánica del Derecho a la Educación, no. 8 (LODE) Year: 1985

Decree: Real Decreto 86/1987 of 16 January (BOE of 23 January) and Ministerial Order of 9 February 1987 Year: 1987

Concerns: Regulations for the recognition of foreign higher education qualifications


Academic year:

Classes from: Oct to: Jul


Languages of instruction: Catalan, Spanish, Basque, Galician


Stages of studies:

Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):


Non-university level:

Centros de formación profesional especifica de Grado superior offer to holders of the Título de Bachillerato three-year full-time courses leading to Grado superior qualifications in areas such as Agriculture, Commerce and Administration.Higher education Music, Dance and Drama studies lead to a Título Superior de (Música, Danza, Drama) which is equivalent to the Licenciado degree.Higher education courses on Preservation and Restoration of historical works of art and Design as well as Ciclos Formativos de Grado Superior in Plastic Arts and Design lead to qualifications equivalent to the Diplomado degree.


University level studies:

University level first stage: Ciclo básico, primer ciclo:

The first cycle of university studies (short term courses), which is taken in Escuelas Técnicas Superiores, Escuelas Universitarias and Facultades lasts for three years and leads to the Diplomado, Ingeniero Técnico or Arquitecto Técnico degrees. These courses lead to long term courses.


University level second stage: Segundo ciclo, ciclo de especialización:

The courses of study leading to Licenciado, Ingeniero and Arquitecto degrees consist of first cycle and second cycle studies (long term studies) but a degree is awarded only when the studies of both cycles have been completed successfully. The Ingeniero and Arquitecto degrees are awarded following an end-of-course project (proyecto fin de carrera). Medical studies last for 6 years but Odontology and Veterinary studies last for five years. These long term courses are taken at Facultades and Escuelas Técnicas Superiores. The former offer courses in Humanities and Science and the latter offer courses in Technology, Engineering and Architecture.


University level third stage: Tercer ciclo, ciclo de especialización para la investigación y docencia:

The third stage is open to holders of  Licenciado, Arquitecto or Ingeniero degrees and leads to the Doctor's degree (Título de Doctor) which is awarded after at least four years' further study and research, and after the submission and defence of a thesis. Another postgraduate degree, although it is not officially recognized (Título propio del Centro) is the "Master's" or Maestría degree, awarded after 1 or 2 years of further study.


Teacher education:

Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers

Primary-school teachers are trained in Escuelas universitarias de Formación de Profesorado. A three-year course leads to the Título de Maestro.


Training of secondary school teachers

In order to be able to teach, holders of Licenciado, Ingeniero or Arquitecto degrees must also hold the Certificado de Aptitud Pedagógica (CAP). This requirement does not apply to a) holders of Licenciado en Pedagogía or b) holders of Maestro degrees who also hold a Licenciado, Ingeniero or Arquitecto degree.


Training of higher education teachers

Higher education teachers are trained in Facultades universitarias or Escuelas técnicas superiores. They must hold Licenciado, Arquitecto or Ingeniero degrees. After two years of third-cycle study and the submission of a thesis, they are awarded a Doctor degree, which is the prerequisite for teaching in faculties and higher-technical schools. However, in Escuelas universitarias, only catedráticos (holders of a chair) must meet this requirement. The requirement for Profesores Titulares is a Licenciado, Ingeniero or Arquitecto degree.


Non-traditional studies:

Distance higher education

The Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) organizes distance learning courses in Law, History and Geography, Philology, Philosophy and Education, Psychology, Economics and Management, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, Political Sciences and Sociology, and Industrial Engineering. UNED also organizes courses giving direct access to university for adults over 25 who do not hold the required qualifications and distance courses for which no specific qualification is required. In 1992, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports created the Centre for Innovation and Development of Distance Education (CIDEAD). Other educational administrations, amongst which the education Departments for the Communities of Galicia, Navarre and Valencia, have established distance education for adults in their respective regions creating the relevant establishments for distance education. There is also the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.


Lifelong higher education

Continuous vocational training, according to the Nuevo Programa Nacional de Formación Profesional (NPNFP) 1998-2002, is conceived as a number of training actions aiming at the personal, social and professional promotion of workers. The NPNFP also establishes the tasks of the Instituto Nacional de Cualificaciones (INCUAL) whose main responsibility is to propose the setting up and management of the Sistema Nacional de Cualificaciones profesionales (SNCP) which will facilitate the coordination of vocational training policies proposed by the Administración General del Estado, the Autonomous Communities and Social Agents.National agreements have been reached in order to promote continuous training. The Fundación Tripartita administers most of the funds on a nation-wide scale.Ministries, Autonomous Communities and different institutions in the public and private sectors also organize special courses outside the general education system for the personal and professional improvement of their employees.


Higher education training in industry

Postgraduate professional courses are offered in universities and by private bodies and associations and lead to the award of a diploma.


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