Spanish teachers strike in face of education cuts | News | DW | 22.05.2012
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Spanish teachers strike in face of education cuts

In a sign of protest against austerity measures that have meant deep cuts in education, Spanish teachers and students have taken part in a day-long strike.

Tens of thousands of school teachers, university lecturers and students went on strike in Madrid, Barcelona and other Spanish cities on Tuesday to protest deep cuts to the country's education sector as part of austerity measures aimed at reining in the country's public debt.

Some took to the streets in demonstrations, with tombs being erected in front of universities to symbolize the view that the country's schooling system is dying.

Union officials said all but three of Spain's 17 regions took part. They say the cuts will put 100,000 substitute teachers out of work.

The cuts in government spending have led to a lack of teachers, larger class sizes, increased university fees, and a declining number of extra-curricular activities. All told, Spain's regions were told to slash 3 billion euros ($4 billion) from education spending. This was part of a plan to reduce Spain's public deficit from 8.9 percent to 5.3 percent of its gross domestic product.

The graduation rate for high school students is 74 percent, below the European Union average of 85 percent. The unemployment rate for people under 25 is at 52 percent. Total national unemployment is 24 percent - the highest in the EU.

mz/ncy (Reuters, dpa, AP)