University Camilo José Cela held at its Almagro building, together with the education magazine Magisterio, an electoral debate on educational policies in the Madrid Region with representatives from the main political parties: Lorena Heras Sedano, Head of the Education and Research Office of the Popular Party; Juan José Moreno, spokesman of the Commission of Education and Research of the PSOE; Eva Bailén, Deputy of Education and Research in the Assembly of Madrid for Cuidadanos; Lola Ruiz, Madrid coordinator for Education for Izquierda Unida as part of Unidas Podemos; and Víctor González Coello, Vice President of Vox.
With the aim of placing education at the forefront of the debate, participants analysed the current situation in this area in the Madrid region. Asela Pintado, Corporate Director of Institutional Relations and Public Affairs at SEK Education Group, encouraged participants to “commit to really to working together and without ideologies in favour of the education system during the new government’s term“. Teachers, students, union representatives and residents of Madrid visited University Camilo José Cela to listen to candidate party’s policy proposals. The debate could also be followed live on social media.
Lorena Heras reviewed the management of the PP in the field of education over the last four years and highlighted the promotion of bilingualism, commitment to school autonomy, the approval of the first law on teacher authority in Spain and Dual Vocational Training. She emphasised the commitment of her party to public education, as well as to the public/private, private and special needs education.
As for the representative of the PSOE, Juan José Moreno, said that the Region of Madrid has the lowest level of expenditure per student in all of Spain and has highlighted different reports, including the one by UCJC Chair on Educational Policies, that concludes that the Madrid Region should improve in terms of social inclusion in its schools. He also mentioned the efforts that must be made to address diversity, autonomy and improvement of coexistence among students and teachers at schools.
For her part, Eva Bailén, representative for Ciudadanos in Madrid, highlighted in her address the influence that her party has had in securing the approval of laws such as the one guaranteeing free textbooks and nursery schools. Ciudadanos proposed continuing with the progress made with a pact on education and through an advanced specialised qualification for teachers. In addition, she proposed including English-language teaching at an even earlier age.
On behalf of Unidas Podemos, Lola Ruiz highlighted the figures that put Spain at the tail-end of Europe in educational segregation and advocated for the construction of more public schools and more places in public education, particularly in Vallecas, Rivas or Getafe.
The vice president of Vox, Víctor González Coello, stated that “the State recover authority over education policies” and that “Spanish be the vehicular language throughout Spain“. The representative of Vox positioned himself in favour of private education, because “its students get better results”, and has asked that the admission requirements to teaching degrees be higher.
Among other issues that entered the debate were the number of guidance counsellors; the student to teacher ratio; the care of students with special needs; homework; the bilingual programme; school bullying; digital education; STEM programmes for promoting science vocations; high achievers or teachers in public/private education.