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State education strike hits Spain

Source: Xinhua - Thu 9th May 2013
State education strike hits Spain

The first official strike to effect all levels of the state education system in Spain is taking place today.

The strike, which effects Primary Schools through to Universities, has been organized by the State Platform for Public Education, in protest over spending cuts in the sector and a new law to improve the quality of education, known as the 'Wert Law' after Education Minister Jose Ignacio Wert, which could be approved on Friday.

Opponents of the Wert Law consider it "an abuse that will generate discrimination in the sector," pointing out it does away with subjects such as citizenship and that it would affect the use of the Catalan language.

The law also offers public finance for schools which want to segregate students by sex, making single sex schools and classes much easier.

The strike will affect around 5.5 million students and teachers at the non-university level and around 1.4 million university students and 100,000 professors.

Thursday's strike forms part of a series of actions which include information sessions and lock-ins in schools and universities which began in April. Unions refuse to rule out further action in the coming months.

Primary and infant schools in Madrid remained open, while in Catalonia there will be 1 teacher for every 4 classes. In nursery schools, 30% of staff will be on duty.

Thursday's strike comes just 48 hours after over 70,000 public health service workers in Madrid carried out the first in a series of one-day strikes against plans to privatize 6 public hospitals and 27 health centers in the region.