A Job Interview with Javier Vidal, Spanish Director General of Universities
By David Tobenkin
F. Javier Vidal García continues to be director general of universities for that Spanish Secretary of state for Education and Science since June 2006. He’s a professor of the way of analysis and diagnosis in education in the College of León. He earlier offered as vice rector of planning and evaluation in the College of León (2004–06) as well as director from the program of institutional quality (1996–04). Like a investigator, he’s concentrated his work in study of greater education, especially look at college research, institutional evaluation, and also the relationship between training and employment. He holds a doctoral in philosophy in the College of Salamanca.
Regarding labor market demand and it is relationship to college education in The country, do you know the important elements from the Secretary of state for Science and Education’s strategy?
We have been researching and doing analysis on which occur in the labor market through studies and questionnaires, especially with the universities. We have detected some difficulties within the training of college students, namely the necessity of students for much better practical training, more flexible levels, and training more oriented to students’ vocational needs and skill to evolve. To reply to that, we’re realizing a reform which has since it’s base the reform from the Organic College Law which was passed earlier this spring and also the recent publication of the new organization of teachings.
This latest organization of teachings generated for The country a restructuring of the style of levels right into a system that’s much like those of the U . s . States: an initial amount of 4 years along with second degree, a master’s amount of a couple of years, to become adopted with a doctoral in some instances. Before in The country, there have been short three-year levels and lengthy levels of 5 years. The brand new changes lead to giving the very first college degree a sufficiently lengthy duration that it’s recognized and valued within the working world. Additionally, this primary degree requires students to obtain some professional experience upon finishing the amount. In other words the amount itself needs to allow students to have fun playing the labor market, not just in continue studying. We have also permitted the universities to consider decisions about the phrase the amount and regarding what’s most significant to future changes into it. So far in The country, it had been a Napoleonic model where the condition were built with a high amount of intervention in figuring out levels and we have reduced that intervention. Presently there does not exist a predetermination through the condition of the number of levels as well as what kind there must be and just what contents they ought to have, but instead the universities themselves, over the years, with participation by professors, the higher society, professionals, yet others can define the levels. Furthermore, we have incorporated the machine of instruction from the master’s degree, something which so far in The country existed, but within an element of the educational system where the government did not participate. We have formally recognized individuals titles and we are likely to incorporate the master’s degree in to the system. The master’s can also get an essential effect on the labor market because universities will approve a specialized learning a determined field that we understand is greatly sought after within the labor market.
Do you know the steps taken through the Ministry to enhance the college educational system to ensure that students obtain good jobs once they graduate?
So far in The country, the development of levels continues to be based solely within the needs from the contents that the degree needed. In other words, to acquire a physics degree, that which you needed was these components which understanding. Now, the projects the universities need to present exceed the weather within the courses that the student needs to study. The essential point would be to design these programs like the skills the students need to have in the completing their studies. Obviously, the understanding is part of these abilities and it is the bottom of exactly what the students must have made by the finish of the studies. But we have introduced, when i stated, the concept that this program is not only a program of understanding that you ought to have, but, rather, an expression of what you need to did. We believe by doing that we have introduced an essential element to enhance careers.
Additionally, universities are actually needed to create very explicit the sensible training that students should have. We know that the theoretical is one thing that’s reasonable also however that we have to insist more about practical training. We have also sent another essential message, which would be that the programs will include in any manner possible exterior practice in professional environments within the last many years of the program. Some already had this incorporated, for example education and health, but we believe that employing this with other courses could greatly enhance the training presented to students. Also, in most this, there’s an enormous curiosity about stimulating the mobility from the students, not only unemployed, but additionally between different institutions.
We feel this could guarantee for college students their very own ability to maneuver and incorporate themselves into new systems and get understanding of recent realities, understanding of recent professors, new classmates, and, especially, mobility within the European arena. We feel this can open new options job possibilities and understanding for college students.
Do you know the largest challenges for that Spanish college system today?
First is a great reform from the teaching system, which we have now begun. In fact the Spanish universities curently have labored very difficult and also have attempted pilot and experimental programs with positive results. As well as in that sense I’ve got a great confidence in our capability to be effective. In, we’ve other great styles within the college area that relate to the financial lending, especially from the public sector, that is something which has been examined and that you will find reviewed through the universities themselves and also the government of The country. Also, we’re analyzing other parts of the non-public sector that may cooperate within the funding of greater education.
Another essential theme is grants which help to students for studies. We started this past year two important practices in grants: the first is that study grants really are a universal right so that all who fulfill certain needs have the authority to a grant, and there’s an excuse for the condition to ensure this help. We have also began a method of loans for college students that permit financing at zero interest and also to delay repayment for fifteen years. We believe these kinds of grants and assistance have to increase more. We must allow all students to possess some form of assistance to enable them to take part in greater education.
Another essential element may be the internationalization from the system. The country is a nation that is of interest for foreign students, somewhat. For instance, we’re the nation that receives probably the most Erasmus participants in Europe. We love to that dimension a good deal and also not just encourage our students to invest a few of their education outdoors of The country, but additionally to create our universities attractive not only for participants within the Erasmus program, but additionally students who wish to study their master’s or graduate programs within our country.
The final important challenge is adding to some better combination between versatility of universities to understand their functions with better understanding of their effect on society, especially regarding public funds. This isn’t only a objective of inspection but instead something which is much more important, which would be to relay to society what’s occurring in each one of the universities. That’s especially so regarding allowing society and students to understand that institution they ought to use find what they’re searching for. We do not have confidence in a method by which certain universities are bad or good, but instead we would like our universities so that you can diversify themselves to ensure that all potentially have of offering something good, indeed excellent, inside a determined field. And that is what we should want society to understand. And that is probably the most important challenges we’ve.
Generally, please discuss the way forward for greater education in The country?
What we should want is perfect for our universities to become competitive, to lead to social cohesion, to become more appealing to Spanish and foreign students, but for the system to possess more dynamism of computer has already established in organized instruction. Our universities are extremely dynamic in lots of fields, for example research, worldwide relations, and regarding our courses—we wish to incorporate this dynamism into teaching, with the college going for a more essential part in designing organized instruction. The model that we have produced is much more adaptive to altering needs. We would like whatever decision we take right now to manage to being modified every year, allowing us to enhance it easily, something which the dwelling that existed just before our new reforms has not permitted. Finally, possibly the most crucial element would be to allow types of coordination between all of the social actors that has not formerly existed with regards to the Spanish government, educational managers from the autonomous parts of The country, universities, companies, and society. We believe we have opened up the potential of creating cooperation between many of these that will enable them to reply to future needs that arise in an infinitely more rapid fashion.
David Tobenkin is really a freelance author in Chevrolet Chase, Maryland.
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