Demonstrations by teachers, students and families against the government’s education cuts were underway in 30 Spanish cities at press time on Thursday evening.
Marchers in the Plaza de Colón in Madrid, as well as in Seville, Zaragoza, Santander, Toledo and more than 20 other towns, took to the streets from around 6pm to demand the resignation of Education Minister José Ignacio Wert and call for the opening of a debate within the sector to decide on the “legislative framework to provide for an education in accordance with the real needs of society.”
Protestors are also asking for the repeal of the reforms already passed by Wert in this legislature and for the withdrawal of his proposed changes to the education law.
“We do not accept, nor will we accept, cuts to public education with the result of a loss of quality, plurality and access to a service that is a fundamental right,” reads the manifesto accompanying the protest.
One of the main focal points of the marches is Barcelona, where education workers are striking against Wert’s draft education law for the second time in a week, following the commotion generated last week after it was revealed it included “attacks,” as they have been categorized in Catalonia, on the educational model and teaching in the Catalan language. The reforms are due to relegate Catalan to a “specialty” subject behind the core and specific subjects, as well as ensuring teaching in Spanish in private schools, at a cost to the regional coffers.
In April, Wert passed a decree that served to raise class sizes, increase teaching hours and limit the provision of substitute teachers.