Pathway to Skills

Spain - Country Summary

Population Literacy rate GDP per capita Unemployment rate Inflation rate Ethnic Groups (%)
(in millions) (%) ($) (%) (%) Mediterranean and Nordic composites Other
40 97.9 27,000 8.7 3.5 Majority  


A considerable amount of the administration of education is decentralised to Autonomous Communities (the Spanish regions). The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport is responsible for overall governing of education and its power includes ensuring the basic unity of the education system, guaranteeing equality and formulating national educational plans.

The Autonomous Communities have the power to create, authorise and operate public and private sector educational institutions.

The Spanish Constitution, 1978, established education as a right, stating that basic education is compulsory and free of charge. These principles were developed under the Right to Education Act (LODE) 1985. This act categorises schools into the various types - state, private, special private schools that are publicly funded and private fee-paying schools.

In 1990, the somewhat controversial (LOGSE) law was passed. This law led to a reform within the non-university education system. Gradual implementation began in 1991/1992 and took place over a period of nine years. The academic year runs from October to July.


Spain has had a parliamentary monarchy since 1978. There are autonomous regions, which undertake much of the governing functions including responsibility for education. The Spanish parliament consists of a Senate and Congress elected every four years.

Considerable power is devolved to the regional level. Many of these regions have their own national consciousness, demonstrated by the different languages. The regions are able to raise taxes, undertake administration and so on. The poorer regions are still funded centrally.

Economics / Resources

The Spanish economy has progressively strengthened since the democratic developments at the end of the 1970s. The country joined the European Community, dismantled overreaching bureaucracy and state ownership.

The northern part of Spain, closer to the rest of the European Union, is richer and its low wages compared to other Eurozone countries has attracted considerable foreign direct investment.

Spain has a wide range of important industries including agriculture, fishing, wine, automobiles, textiles and telecommunications.