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The Spanish University Presidents are concerned about the recent statements by the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, on the Spanish University System

Alicante, 18th April 2012

COMMUNIQUÈ by the Spanish University Presidents Conference (CRUE)

The analysis of the data available, demonstrated by various national and international organizations, does not  share many of the claims, nor the diagnosis, which has been made on the Spanish University System.

Indeed, there exists a clear disadjustment between the public resources employed and the results obtainied in teaching, research and knowledge transfer. However, the results are proportionally much higher than the public effort performed.

In teaching, 79% of students starting their studies, end up with a university title, being 70% the average of OCDE. Also, in recent years, a clear improvement of the academic performance has been produced from the integration of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), despite having made the adjustment with an investment effort clearly lower than in other countries.

In a market situation better than the current one, the level of training of the Spanish university students has clearly demonstrated its suitability. It seems, therefore, not correct to relate the students' preparation and effectiveness of the University with the lack of jobs, especially among young people. In this sense, the academic preparation of our students is, in general, clearly satisfactory.

In a research work, made between 1997 and 2007, the Spanish scientific output grew by 80% to be 3.4% of the worldwide scientific, performing two-thirds of this percentage in universities. This effort has turned Spain into the ninth scientific power, and the eighth in publications per capita, with results similar to Japan. In this area, a Spanish university is between 1% which brings together the world's best universities, eight universities within 2%, 24 in 4% and all public and three private, in 10%.

It is a significant achievement considering Spain only invests 1,39% of GDP in R & D + i,  far below the 2.3% which is the OECD average. Linking scientific production per capita with the share of spending on R & D & I, we happen to be one of the four world's most efficient systems.

Talking about transfer, Spain surely contributes very little (0.8%) to worldwide patents. However, the percentage of patents in Spain that comes from the university sector is the second highest in the world. Consequently, it seems fair to appoint the Spanish university system as the primarily responsible for the low rate of innovation in our country.

Also, it is worth recalling that in recent years the Spanish university system has been subject to major changes to adapt to the European Area. What universities need now is stability in standards and funding consistent with the capabilities and needs of the country. It is therefore essential a joint commitment between government and universities.

The universities are and will always be serving society, willing to continue working on adapting the system to the needs of our country, especially in these times of crisis.

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