The student strikes in Barcelona have not aroused the least interest to the Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, Pedro Duque. Upon his arrival on Friday at a meeting in Brussels, the socialist politician has avoided explaining his opinion about the demands of the students. During the two days that the protest lasted, they suspended most classes, cut streets, demonstrated and occupied some faculties of the Pompeu Fabra University and the University of Barcelona to demand a 30% reduction in university fees, the highest by far of all Spain. "I do not know, I have not been to Barcelona, nor have I read it," Duque responded when questioned about his vision of the problem.
The average price per university credit in Catalonia is 41.17 euros compared to the average of 27.7 euros in the rest of Spain, a difference that the educational community considers unfair. The protests began on Wednesday with the blocking of some access to universities, and continued on Thursday with the cutting of the Diagonal and a demonstration in the center of the Catalan capital. His ministry, however, aims to agree on common prices and low in all regions. A Catalan master costs three times that of Manchego.
The students were supported by a strike of teaching staff and researcher from public universities to ask for an improvement of the conditions of the associate professors and the stabilization of the researchers. With the Spanish economy accumulating 19 consecutive quarters of rising GDP, the sector sees the time to increase investment in education, improve the ratio of students per class, end the precariousness of interns, and in general, reverse the cuts in public education that have occurred since the beginning of the economic crisis.
The Generalitat of Catalonia, which assumes a large part of the competences on Universities, has faced these days a massive response on the street not only by students, but also by firefighters, doctors and other officials. For now his reaction has been limited to phrases of support that have not been accompanied by concrete measures. "We share the great effort made these years by public servants," he said through his Twitter account.
The Spanish Minister of Universities has also referred to the employment situation of women in the sector. And he has asked for patience to achieve greater equality in high educational positions, where women leaders are still a minority. "The objective of the Government is the complete equality between men and women, but logically it can not be in a year". Duque has lamented that it is in the upper part of the university hierarchy where there are "major deficiencies", and stressed that the Government has made changes in the weighting of the curricula "so that women who choose to be mothers do not have a disadvantage and in the final part of their career have equality with men. "