Only 12 of 81 Spanish universities meet the requirements that the Government will require to be considered as such

Public, private, face-to-face or remotely, all almost equally. Most Spanish universities, whatever their type, do not comply with any of the requirements that the Government will impose on these centers to continue considering them as such. Only 12 of 81 universities evaluated (in total there are 88, but of some there is no certain data) meet all the minimums that appear in the draft Royal Decree that the Ministry of Universities is processing these days, according to a study by the Observatory of the University System of Catalonia (OSU) based on data especially from the Integrated University Information System (SIIU). Furthermore, only 18 of those same 81 universities meet the requirements currently in force, according to the Royal Decree (RD) approved by José Ignacio Wert, more lax than the current one in terms of conditions.

Universities will have to apply to comply with the new RD prepared by the Ministry directed by Manuel Castells. The submitted draft specifies that all centers must meet the minimum requirements, for which they will have five years in the case of existing campuses, whether private or public, teach face-to-face, distance or a mixture of both. The spirit of the changes that Universities plan is to avoid the proliferation of private centers of dubious quality, especially with an online teaching model, which is taking place recently, as explained by ministry sources when the decree was presented.

"There is a general non-compliance with the current requirements, which have also been in force for a long time, they are limited to five and despite that only 18 universities out of 81 analyzed comply," explains Vera Sacristán, president of the OSU and former professor of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia . And it is a non-compliance that is free, he laments: "It has had no consequences all these years."

Thus, the new legal text toughens the minimums that universities must meet. The requirements contemplated cover four major aspects of the University: the teaching offer that they must complete (at least ten official bachelor's degrees, six master's degrees and three official doctoral programs from three of the five major branches of knowledge; also have at least 50% of its students in undergraduate and double degrees and those enrolled in continuous training may not be double or more than those studying official degrees); research activity (five research projects awarded, 60% of professors with approved six-year terms among doctoral professors, dedicate at least 5% of their budget to R + D + i); research teaching staff (a ratio of one PDI for every 50 to 100 students, not to exceed 50% of temporary PDI); and a series of requirements related to the centers attached to the universities that the majority do not comply with or do not offer information in this regard. These affiliated centers are usually schools or similar entities, almost all private, that join a public one to offer their official degrees under that umbrella.

Currently, according to the OSU and only taking into account only its own centers, not those attached, only the universities of A Coruña, Almería, Córdoba, Extremadura, Granada, Jaén, La Laguna, León, Oviedo, Politécnica de Cartagena, Politécnica de Madrid , Politécnica de Valencia, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Vigo, Deusto, Loyola de Andalucía and Pontificia de Salamanca (these last three private) are within the law. When the nine RD is approved, those of A Coruña, Extremadura, Jaén, Deusto, Loyola de Andalucía and the Pontificia de Salamanca will fall from that list for different reasons (see graphs).

Not a Catalan and only a Madrilenian meet

The degree of non-compliance, both present and future, varies greatly between Universities and even between regions, explains the OSU. Although all the minimums established by the Government are just as mandatory, there are centers that will comply with a small modification and others that have it practically impossible. Among the former we can mention the Universities of Alcalá or Alicante, which only need to slightly lower their percentage of temporary PDI; Among the latter, the Universidad del Atlántico Medio, in the Canary Islands, does not meet one of the 11 requirements that the Government will demand (and some, such as the offer of doctorates, require several years to be implemented) or Fernando Pessoa-Canarias, which does meet one of the student requirements.

The situation also varies greatly depending on the filter with which Universities are viewed. At the autonomous community level, for example, not a single one of the 12 Catalan universities (seven public, five private) meets all the currently required requirements, always according to data from the OSU. Madrid follows, where only one of the 14 (the Polytechnic, public) arrives. At the other extreme, five of the ten Andalusian universities (one private and one public) are doing well.

The OSU explains that public universities fail mainly in the requirements related to PDI templates (33 out of 48 public ones fail here), while they exceed the research requirements (only 10 do not arrive). The private ones do have problems with research (only one of the 33 studied meets the three requirements that can be verified from public data, explains the Observatory), which also affects doctorates and the percentage of professors with six-year terms, its weakest point, and the PDI templates (nine comply), while they have their strong point in the teaching offer (and even so, more than half, 17 out of 33, fall short).


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