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Education in Madrid, a powerful but unequal system

Madrid, Apr 27 EFE) .- The Community of Madrid stands out in education due to its good academic results but not in equity, and stands out for being the region where families make the greatest economic effort in teaching their children compared to a system public that is the one that spends the least per student and year.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, the 28,449 non-university teaching centers in Spain were distributed as follows: 67.1% were public; 18.6%, arranged, and the remaining 14.3%, private without concerts. Only in the Community of Madrid the private ones surpassed the public ones, by 0.2%, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Education.

The weight of students enrolled in private schools in Madrid is one of the highest, 40%, among which 25% go to the concerted and 16% to the private without public funding, the latter percentage the highest at the level national.

At the top of public spending per student, with a national average of 5,779 euros, is the Basque Country, with 9,298 euros; Navarra (7,456); Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria, with almost 7,000 euros, and Castilla y León (6,761 euros), while Madrid, with 4,727 euros, ranks last in the regional table, according to the latest official data.

In an interview with EFE, the professor of Fundamentals of Economic Analysis Francisco Pérez highlights the profound differences in the autonomous systems due to factors such as the student’s social and economic environment (income, parents’ cultural level …). “It is not everything, but it is a substantial part,” he stresses.

However, he explains, there are “better or worse systems, with greater or lesser capacity to compensate for these conditions. For example, Castilla y León is not the richest region in Spain but it is the one with the best results and stands out in terms of equity ”.

Madrid, in general terms, presents good academic results, but there is inequality, emphasizes Pérez, who has published numerous books and articles in national and international specialized magazines on the economics of education.


Education is one of the great areas where equal opportunities are pursued and there are many indicators to evaluate it. One of them is to know if the results are the same regardless of the social extraction of the schoolchildren. “In the country as a whole, the answer is no.”

The score obtained in the latest PISA report – the OECD test that measures the skills of 15-year-old students in science, mathematics and reading comprehension – places us at just 500 points, but the difference between students from more and less favored backgrounds It is 82 percentage points, “that is equivalent to the result of practically two years of studies.”

In Castilla y León, this difference falls from 82 points (the Spanish average) to 61 and, on the other hand, in Madrid it is 86 points, in short, students who start from a disadvantage due to their family origin obtain “quite worse” results.

Other indicators that measure inequality are the percentage of students who drop out of education, who repeat a year or the distribution of certain profiles in schools.

Here, Madrid “does not do well in terms of the probability of repetition of students in an unfavorable situation, which is much higher than the average for Spain, and it does not do well in school segregation either (schools that are highly differentiated by the type of students who attend) ”, Explains the also research director of the Valencian Institute of Economic Research (IVIE).

When the results are analyzed by the ownership of the centers, the private ones obtain better marks, but this is mainly due to the profile of the students. “If you do a statistical analysis and eliminate the effect of that different socio-economic origin, ownership does not matter; there is no advantage of the private over the public and vice versa ”.


The fact that the Community of Madrid stands out due to the weight of the non-concerted private sector is “a reflection of educational policy options” and the percentage of people with high income in the region.

“In Madrid it cannot be argued that there is a government of a political sign that has been governing for more than twenty years because they vote for it. Therefore, behind those decisions, if there were not the support of a part of the population, then there would be no government majorities ”.

The autonomous communities that allocate a higher percentage of public spending on education to finance private centers in 2017 are: the Basque Country, the Community of Madrid and the Foral Community of Navarra with 23.9%, 19.7% and 19.5%, respectively, according to the statistics of the Ministry of Education.


What characterizes the Madrid region with respect to the rest is its low educational spending, “both private and public financing”, and the economic effort of families in teaching their children, 50% more than the average Spanish (1,640 euros per year compared to 1,045).

This has a consequence: public spending equalizes the positions of access to education, but if it depends more on private spending, it facilitates that there are more differences because there will be households that will be able to finance without problem everything that the public stops paying and others cannot.


If public centers are serving the most disadvantaged, should they have more resources? The answer is yes, answers the professor. And should any public center have resources? The answer is no. “They must go to those where the problems and needs are greatest.”

For his part, José Miguel Campo, member of the School Council of the Community of Madrid and vice-secretary of the College of Doctors and Graduates, emphasizes that there are concerted centers not only in areas such as the Salamanca district but also in places with a much lower income such as Vallecas and Carabanchel.

“Here we return to that very Spanish cliché. There are agreements in which there are no uniforms or, if there are, they are loaned from one year to the next, where there are no powerful economic contributions and they are in working-class neighborhoods ”.

In his opinion, the fact that Madrid is the capital and its population density has led to the network of centers “it has always been necessary for it to be broader than in other areas”, together with different historical components such as the strong implementation of the bourgeoisie and religious centers since the beginning of the 20th century.

According to Campo, director of a public IES in the region, there is “a certain tradition in the middle classes to pull towards the concerted one due to the idea that there is greater control or greater monitoring, because the topic about public education is perhaps also very stagnant, totally surpassed and that has more to do with the areas where these centers are located ”.

“I work in a public institute (in an area with a high per capita income) that does not differ from private and concerted institutions, we compete with them as equals,” he concludes. EFE


(c) EFE Agency

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