Education Minister, José Ignacio Wert, presented a draft bill to the autonomous communities today, which if passed by Congress on Friday, would increase the maximum number of children in a classroom by 20% and fix teaching hours at 25 for infant and primary teachers, and 20 for secondary school teachers.
The draft education bill would mean that sick leave of under ten working days would have to be covered by the schools themselves; 'intermediate' and 'higher' level vocational training with more than 2,000 hours will not be introduced until the 2014-2015 academic year; and the obligation for schools to offer at least two of the three types of 'bachiller' (sixth form studies course) would be temporarily suspended.
Wert made it clear that the measures were "by no means" an education reform plan, but instead were designed to improve efficiency and create the right conditions for reform to come about in the future.
Currently, according to Spanish law, a maximum of 25 pupils are allowed in any primary school classroom, and 30 in a secondary school. Under the draft amendments, these numbers would increase to a maximum of 30 pupils per class in primary and 36 in secondary.
Up untill now, there has been no rules from central government with regard to the number of classroom hours teachers are obliged to do, with each region setting its own norms. Neverthless, "a healthy majority" of regional educational ministries were in favour of today's proposals, with most having raised the minimum number of teaching hours to those proposed anyway.
Just a week ago, the government announced its intention to cut 3bn euros from the education budget and 7bn from healthcare.