In the 90s, half of the population stagnated before reaching high school, now 80% of students go

In the last 30 years, Spain has made an important qualitative leap in education, improving many indicators of the system.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2024 Monday 10:31
6 Reads
In the 90s, half of the population stagnated before reaching high school, now 80% of students go

In the last 30 years, Spain has made an important qualitative leap in education, improving many indicators of the system. There are more people trained, for a longer period of time and with a higher level of education, according to the Statistical Yearbook. Education figures in Spain. During these three decades, from 1991-92 to 2021-2022, the last course published by the Ministry of Education and FP, education has evolved towards equity and inclusion, promoting continuity in training. The population without education has decreased and the population with higher education has increased.

Thus, there are more people with education. Eight out of every ten young people between 20 and 24 years old have completed at least high school or an intermediate cycle of Vocational Training (FP). This is 79% of the total. In the 1990s, just over half (55%) reached that level of education.

Furthermore, in those years in which education was already universalized, more students were leaving the educational system at different stages in such a way that, finally, the early school dropout rate for young people between 18 and 24 years old, who did not have neither middle grade nor high school, was 41% while in 2022 it was 13.9%. The authorities consider that this is the minimum level of training for a citizen, although it is not mandatory.

For Professor Carlos Magro, president of the Collective of Teachers for Inclusion and Educational Improvement, who shared on social networks the change in education from the nineties to the present in eight graphs, there is “a lot to improve in Spanish education , but also many advances, let's not forget."

After the PISA report and the reactionary voices raised by the post-pandemic data, Magro wanted to look back and broaden the perspective on the journey of the Spanish educational system, especially in terms of equity.

More data. In 1991-1992 the rate of the population that graduated from COU was 33% while now 56% of the population does so (in high school). The improvement is also observed if you go down a step, in the ESO stage (previously BUP). In the 1999-2000 academic year, one in four students did not graduate. Now 80% exceed it.

Another aspect that has changed (and that the European Commission asks Spain to improve even more) is the suitability rate, that is, the course that corresponds to a student based on his or her age. 30 years ago the level of school repetition was very high to the point that six out of ten students went from 8th grade of EGB to 1st grade of BUP at 15, 16 or older, not at 14, which was the ideal age. It meant that 60% had repeated during primary school. However, now 80% are in the course that corresponds to 14 years of age. And they all study compulsory secondary school.

Even so, the resource of repetition in Spain continues to be used by teachers because it is one of the countries with the highest number of students behind with respect to their assigned grade. The suitability rate increases with age, as it accumulates repeaters. But it is significant that then two out of every ten 10-year-old students would have already fallen behind and had repeated, leaving their schoolmates, for not reaching sufficient “maturity” or “level of knowledge.”

Another interesting fact is the participation of the population in schooling. School life expectancy is an indicator that measures the average number of years that a person is expected to remain in the educational system. It is counted from the age of 6, which is when compulsory education begins.

In the 2005-2006 academic year, it was expected that a 6-year-old child would be training for 14.5 years (up to 20 and a half years). In 2020-2021, it is expected to be 17.8 years old, that is, close to 23 years old. The more years of education, the higher the quality of life, the better employment opportunities and greater citizen participation.

Therefore, it is logical that if the training time is extended there will be more people in the block at the higher education level (FP or university). In 2023, half of the population aged 25 to 34 had a higher degree. Specifically 52%. This figure is well above the 37.5% of young people with higher degrees two decades ago. It is also above the European average (42%) and exceeds the European target for 2030 (45%). But it is similar, according to Magro, to other European countries.