Spain at tail end of EU educational mobility ranking

Just half of most disadvantaged citizens improve on parents' level of studies

As student on an apprenticeship course in Madrid.
As student on an apprenticeship course in Madrid.Claudio Álvarez

Spain ranks fifth-worst in Europe when it comes to educational mobility for its most disadvantaged citizens, according to new Eurostat data released Wednesday.

In 2011, 50 percent of Spaniards aged between 25 and 59 whose parents received a low level of education had not improved their status, 24 percent had progressed to an intermediate level and 27 percent had reached higher education.

Only Malta (73 percent), Portugal (68 percent), Luxembourg (52 percent) and Italy (50 percent) recorded worse results for their most disadvantaged citizens.

In contrast, the countries that saw the greatest educational mobility among its lowest classes were the Czech Republic, where 83 percent progressed to the medium level, Slovakia (78 percent) and Poland (75 percent).

"It is a chronic problem with the Spanish education system," said sociologist Xavier Martínezx Celorio, who researches social mobility for the Fundación Jaume Bofill. "Giving more advantages to the most outstanding and fewer to the disadvantaged."

Spain fared better when it came to families with a medium level of studies, where 52 percent of children went on to higher education - a result that placed it third on the list of 28 countries.

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