Euroresiuk

Spanish students protest against Bologna Declaration

Spanish Vice Chancellors ask for help from government

Spanish Vice Chancellors have asked the government for help in solving the crisis that has arisen around the ‘anti-Bologna movement’ which is growing among Spanish university students. The issue surrounds the ‘Declaration of Bologna’ signed by 29 European countries in 1999 with the objective of facilitating the official recognition of university qualifications on a European wide basis and the free movement of lecturers and students around the European University system.

The Vice Chancellors warn that movement against the Bologna agreement will continue to grow and protests have spread to secondary education. They have asked for government intervention as they believe that it has taken on a state wide dimension and needs tackling with coordinated action from above.

The five universities most affected by the anti-Bologna protests are the University of Barcelona, Autónoma de Barcelona, Complutense, Sevilla and Valencia.

These universities have 250,000 students which in total account for a fifth of all public university students in Spain.

The anti-Bologna movement is hard to quantify but in the universities most affected protests are taking place everyday. The protests take the form of blocking the entrance to buildings or to lecture halls or other institutional events. Students clashed with security in Barcelona University last week during one such protest.

In their letter to the government the Vice Chancellors also show their concern that the protests are spreading to other sectors of education – mostly in secondary schools and amongst teachers and families of secondary school students who will take university places in the near future.

In their letter vice chancellors have asked the government to face up to the situation with urgency and look for solutions that will allow for Spanish universities to move forward.

This is why they have also asked for a meeting with government officials from the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

One of the main reasons why students are protesting against the declaration of Bologna is that they relieve that it will pave the way for the gradual privatisation of public universities and that study fees will inevitably go up. The university vice chancellors have attempted to deny this, protests continue to grow all over Spain hence this latest letter urging the Government to issue a statement stressing the positive aspects of the declaration of Bologna.

One gesture on the part of the government would be to simplify the process of accreditation for new qualifications.