The Rectors unite against cutbacks in teaching and research and request the end of exceptional measures
April 30, 2014
The Rectors of the Spanish universities have simultaneously read a statement to the media and the university community to request the end of the exceptional measures that affect studying, teaching and researching
The Rectors of the Spanish Universities request the end of the exceptional measures that affect studying, teaching activity and research. To achieve this, the CRUE has made public the following statement:
"It has been two years since the approval of the Royal Decree 14/2012, of "urgent measures for the rationalization of the public expenditure in the field of education", a regulation that modified the Organic Law of Universities and affected such sensitive aspects as public fees and the organization of the teaching activity. The following budgetary norms have affected the salaries, the labor right and other professional expectations of the public employees and, therefore, also those from the universities.
The Royal Decrees pertaining grants have changed their nature from a right to that of an aid that must be competed for, with harder economic requirements for those who need them the most. Moreover, Erasmus grants have also restricted their criteria for admission in the past two years.
In terms of research, the lower budget and the sequence of the calls made by the Government of Spain and some autonomous goverments have taken their toll of irreparable consequences for many research groups. This understanding of R&D&i as a expenditure and not as an investment collides with that of the most advanced countries.
We Rectors consider especially hurtful and hardly justifiable, due to their minimum economic impact, the measures that affect our young students. The increase of the public fees for Undergraduate Degrees and, very high above them, those of the Master's Degrees affect the formative possibilities of our youths in a specially hard moment for employment. Access to an academic profession is closed for them, with the exception of the almost inexistent rates renewal in the teaching staff. These kill the expectations of the university teachers in their academic careers and undermine the motivation to constantly improve the quality of teaching and research. The normative limitations have made the staffs of teachers, researchers and administrative and service personnel full of internships and precarious job positions, some of them offered by the Government itself, that are not adequate for their role in the university, teaching, research and management.
The measures, according to the Royal Decree 14/2012, were supposed to be exceptional and were justified under the premise of the economic crisis of the moment. With the claims of an economic improvement of Spain, we request the end of these measures that go beyond a rational saving and an efficient and austere management, in the framework of the budgetary criteria that will be set.
The public fees for enrollment at university must be affordable and reasonable in every formative level. The notion of grants and financial aid as guarantees of equity must be recovered. The universities must recover their autonomy in terms of management of the teaching and research activity. It must be possible for them to organize their staff with renovations and promotions adjusted to reality and its strategic planning. Research and innovation must be once again supported to go back to the path of growth, based on knowledge and intelligent and sustainable specialization, avoiding the loss of talent and taking advantage of proportionate formation.
The Spanish university, as the European one, faces the need to adapt its system to a social and economic reality that demands a modernization of its structures and working. To be able to undergo it, it is necessary to seek a deep social and political consensus that must be started by the recovery of its normal academic, teaching and research life. The achievement of these objectives involves everyone -social agents, the government, the autonomous community and the universities- and it is necessary to achieve it for the benefit of the Spanish society."