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Home » Content » Radiography of the Catalan university harassed by the pro-independence movement
The Catalan Government tolerates the bravado of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana-ANC while ignoring the SOS of university rectors about an increasingly precarious situation, due to cuts that have not been reversed for ten years and the brain drain.

Maria Jesus Cañizares

08/29/2020 00:00 h. Updated: 08/29/2020 11:25 AM

To date, no member of the Catalan Government has disavowed the president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Elisenda Paluzie, after making a call to surround the University of Barcelona (UB) in the Day of Catalonia, the Diada, because, in her opinion, it is too much “unionist”. An assessment that is extended to the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). Both centers will hold rector elections this year, hence the secessionist mobilization.

But while the Generalitat tolerates the ANC’s bravado, it ignores the call for help from the rectors of the eight Catalan universities, immersed in an increasingly precarious situation, with an increase in temporary employment due to cuts that have not been reversed for 10 years and the brain drain. It is a strategic sector, not only from the talent point of view, but also economically.

According to data from the Associació Catalana d’Universitats Públiques (ACUP), these educational centers generate directly 60,000 jobs and 2% of Catalan GDP. While waiting for the 30% reduction in the price of fees to be applied in the next few years –a commitment of the Government obtained by “Catalonia in Comú-Podem”–, today, the Catalan public university is the most expensive of Spain, which encourages social inequalities. ACUP has only 10% of the students who come from low-income families.

“Our survival is at stake”

“Our survival is at stake due to lack of funding” In this way, the eight Catalan rectors expressed themselves in October 2019 in a solemn joint act held at the UB auditorium. Almost a year later, the situation is very similar, despite the oxygen balloon of the new Generalitat budgets for 2020, the rectors have launched an SOS again this summer through a new joint statement.

The warnings from the educational community have been diverse. “The public disinvestment in universities and research in Catalonia in recent years is worrying and is beginning to affect the ordinary functioning and results of university activity. It has gone from funding from the Generalitat to universities of 908 million euros in 2009 to only 766 million in 2017 (with a maximum reduction in 2014, with funding of only 678 million) “, denounced the ACUP document ‘Catalan public universities, a strategic investment for the social, cultural, economic and technological progress of Catalonia’ [It can be read in this link]


Progressive aging

Added to this situation is “a progressive and serious aging of the university staff, with average age already approaching 60 years in the case of the PDI (teaching and research staff), and great difficulty in stabilizing younger staff young and to attract and retain talent in Catalan universities”, added that document.

More recently, given the pandemic situation, the rectors have highlighted the need to “allocate a part of the special funds for reconstruction to university centers”.

2020 Budgets

How is the financial situation today? The Generalitat’s budgets contemplate an item of 979 million for Catalan universities. “It must be taken into account that of that figure, 100 million are destined to chapter 1, that is, to personnel expenses. For this reason, we urge the Government to comply with Motion 97 / XII, on public universities, with the incorporation in the 2020 budget of 900 million for financing and 100 million for infrastructure investments”, explains the MCP of PSC-Units, Alícia Romero.

She remembers that her group made amendments to the Catalan accounts “to increase resources in universities and research. But the Govern parties voted against”.

The Government has not invested in infrastructure for 10 years, to the point that centers such as the Rovira i Virgili University (URV) have denounced that their laboratories “are falling apart”.

For 2020, the Generalitat envisages allocating 9.7 million for the University Investment Plan. This circumstance is linked to another of the sectors linked to the university, R&D, which has also suffered from precariousness. On the occasion of the last meeting of the members of the National Pact for the Knowledge Society, the rector of the URV and president of ACUP, Maria José Figueras, was very harsh with the lack of resources allocated by the Generalitat, since this sector will be fundamental in post-Covid reconstruction.

Lower rates

Regarding the 30% decrease in rates promised by the Government, it must be taken into account that, in 2012, the cuts applied by the Government of Artur Mas were compensated with a 66% increase in these rates. According to Fundació Coneixement i Desenvolupament, this enormous increase meant a very strong decrease in access to university. Between the 2011-2012 academic year and 2017-2018, the percentage of 18-year-olds who joined Catalan universities fell five points (from 48.2% to 43.5%), so Catalonia went from being the fifth autonomous community with more university students to be the ninth.

Drop-out in Catalonia in the 2013-2014 academic year reached 21.9%; the highest in all of Spain. That situation caused a brain drain. In 2009, at the beginning of the crisis, there were 35,000 young people living abroad. Today, the number has doubled, reaching 76,000.

Regarding the employment situation of teaching staff, the Observatorio del Sistema Universitario (OSU)  warns that “with 69% temporary employment in the PDI staff, the percentage of associate teaching staff is growing steadily and is on the way to doubling the Spanish average.https://cronicaglobal.elespanol.com/politica/radiografia-universidad-catalana-acosada-independentismo_379134_102.html

To date, no member of the Catalan Government has disavowed the president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Elisenda Paluzie, after making a call to surround the University of Barcelona (UB) in the Diada because, in her opinion, it is too much “unionist”. An assessment that is extended to the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). Both centers will hold rector elections this year, hence the secessionist mobilization.

But while the Generalitat tolerates the ANC’s bravado, it ignores the call for help from the rectors of the eight Catalan universities, immersed in an increasingly precarious situation, with an increase in temporary employment due to cuts that have not been reversed for 10 years and the brain drain. It is a strategic sector, not only from the talent point of view, but also economically.

According to data from the Associació Catalana d’Universitats Públiques (ACUP), these educational centers generate directly 60,000 jobs and 2% of Catalan GDP. While waiting for the 30% reduction in the price of fees to be applied in the next few years –a commitment of the Government obtained by Catalonia in Comú-Podem–, today, the Catalan public university is the most expensive of Spain, which encourages social inequalities. ACUP has only 10% of the students who come from low-income families.

“Our survival is at stake”

“Our survival is at stake due to lack of funding” In this way, the eight Catalan rectors expressed themselves in October 2019 in a solemn joint act held at the UB auditorium. Almost a year later, the situation is very similar, despite the oxygen balloon of the new Generalitat budgets for 2020, and the rectors have launched an SOS again this summer through a new joint statement.


The warnings from the educational community have been diverse. “The public disinvestment in universities and research in Catalonia in recent years is worrying and is beginning to affect the ordinary functioning and results of university activity. It has gone from funding from the Generalitat to universities of 908 million euros in 2009 to only 766 million in 2017 (with a maximum reduction in 2014, with funding of only 678 million) “, denounced the ACUP document ‘Catalan public universities, a strategic investment for the social, cultural, economic and technological progress of Catalonia’ [It can be read in this link]

 Progressive aging

Added to this situation is “a progressive and serious aging of the university staff, with average age already approaching 60 years in the case of the PDI (teaching and research staff), and great difficulty in stabilizing younger staff young and to attract and retain talent in Catalan universities”, added that document.

More recently, given the pandemic situation, the rectors have highlighted the need to “allocate a part of the special funds for reconstruction to university centers”.

2020 Budgets

How is the financial situation today? The Generalitat’s budgets contemplate an item of 979 million for Catalan universities. “It must be taken into account that of that figure, 100 million are destined to chapter 1, that is, to personnel expenses. For this reason, we urge the Government to comply with Motion 97 / XII, on public universities, with the incorporation in the 2020 budget of 900 million for financing and 100 million for infrastructure investments”, explains the MCP of PSC-Units, Alícia Romero.

She remembers that her group made amendments to the Catalan accounts “to increase resources in universities and research. But the Govern parties voted against”.

The Government has not invested in infrastructure for 10 years, to the point that centers such as the Rovira i Virgili University (URV) have denounced that their laboratories “are falling apart”.

For 2020, the Generalitat envisages allocating 9.7 million for the University Investment Plan. This circumstance is linked to another of the sectors linked to the university, R&D, which has also suffered from precariousness. On the occasion of the last meeting of the members of the National Pact for the Knowledge Society, the rector of the URV and president of ACUP, Maria José Figueras, was very harsh with the lack of resources allocated by the Generalitat, since this sector will be fundamental in post-Covid reconstruction.

Lower rates

Regarding the 30% decrease in rates promised by the Government, it must be taken into account that, in 2012, the cuts applied by the Government of Artur Mas were compensated with a 66% increase in these rates. According to Fundació Coneixement i Desenvolupament, this enormous increase meant a very strong decrease in access to university. Between the 2011-2012 academic year and 2017-2018, the percentage of 18-year-olds who joined Catalan universities fell five points (from 48.2% to 43.5%), so Catalonia went from being the fifth autonomous community with more university students to be the ninth.

Drop-out in Catalonia in the 2013-2014 academic year reached 21.9%; the highest in all of Spain. That situation caused a brain drain. In 2009, at the beginning of the crisis, there were 35,000 young people living abroad. Today, the number has doubled, reaching 76,000.

Regarding the employment situation of teaching staff, the Observatorio del Sistema Universitario (OSU)  warns that “with 69% temporary employment in the PDI staff, the percentage of associate teaching staff is growing steadily and is on the way to doubling the Spanish average.

https://cronicaglobal.elespanol.com/politica/radiografia-universidad-catalana-acosada-independentismo_379134_102.html

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