The rectors maintain that the Castells law does not respond to the needs of the University


Manuel Castells, Minister of Universities

Manuel Castells, Minister of Universities

The rectors have criticized today the project of the Organic Law of the University System because they understand that in general lines does not respond to the needs of the University and they condemn, in particular, aspects related to the teaching staff, the lack of funding and the obligation to guarantee parity in the positions.

In about twenty pages, the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) shelves the articles of this draft, seen in the Council of Ministers on August 31 and that the Ministry of Universities has already committed to modify governance issues before the student protests because – in his opinion– “suspended in internal democracy”.

According to this contribution document sent by the rectors to the minister Manuel Castells, The LOSU is “not very innovative and does not adapt to the transformation needs” required by universities, does not present a competitive model and has “worrying issues” that contradict or distance themselves from Crue’s positions.

Especially significant – believes the CRUE – are the aspects linked to the teaching staff, which is “the main nucleus that makes a university innovative and competitive. In this area, the draft does not solve or address the most urgent issues “ as the aging of the Teaching and Research Staff.

Here are the main requests and criticisms of the CRUE to the blueprint:

Autonomy: Given the persistent demand to increase the autonomy of universities to levels comparable to more competitive European systems, “there are no relevant and innovative changes” on the current law or “an incentive framework to increase diversity among universities, improve their effectiveness or its international competitiveness “.

Creation, recognition and evaluation of universities: The CRUE insists that the creation and recognition of a university be accompanied by a binding report from the General Conference on University Policy, not merely mandatory as established by the LOSU.

Parity: An alternative wording is proposed to the obligation to guarantee in all collegiate bodies the principle of balanced composition, between women and men.

“Given the difficulty of practical application of such provision”, the rectors prefer to talk about favoring said egalitarian composition.

-Economic and financial regime of public universities

They suggest that the law expressly collect a plan to increase public spending with specific objectives and they insist on the incorporation of a finalist financing line –of a state nature–, destined exclusively to research.

The bill sets the goal of reaching a investment in universities of 1% of GDP in the next ten years.

-They consider that establishing that university residence halls can only be managed and promoted by non-profit entities may imply an imposition of dubious legality.

Teaching and research staff:

The rectors affirm that the objectives set and the solution of structural staff problems require a significant increase in public fundingTherefore, an “economic report” is lacking that specifies the economic resources to comply with the provisions of the Law.

They add that the stabilization of the Teaching and Research Staff (PDI) and the necessary increase and rejuvenation of said staff have “a fundamental obstacle in the replacement rate, as it has been applied in recent years.”

“Without its disappearance or flexibility, it is impossible to achieve the objective of reducing teachers with ctemporary contract, since the offer of permanent places is limited by this rate “.

In his opinion, a serious problem may be the setting of the range that sets the teaching dedication of full-time teachers between 240 and 120 teaching hours per academic year within their annual working day, a measure that “limits and even violates university autonomy in a fundamental issue such as personnel policy.”

Selection committees: The law requires that the majority of its members be external, but the rectors consider that it should only be mandatory for permanent positions, but not “necessarily for positions of teaching assistant doctor and, where appropriate, non-doctor hired teaching staff, given the high volume of hiring that could block the competition system “.

-Mandates of the rectors: They suggest that the mandate of the heads of unipersonal bodies not only be non-extendable beyond 6 years – as proposed by the LOSU – but also that they are not renewable. Furthermore, they do not agree that a full professor can be a candidate for rector but that, as up to now, they can only be professors.

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