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Spain: Higher education reform grants more autonomy to universities

The Spanish council of ministers have approved the reform of the higher education system through legislative changes to the Ley Organica de Universidades (LOU), a law which was promulgated five years ago and that has been reviewed after consultation with all the relevant stakeholders in the field of higher education (see ACA Newsletter Education Europe, April 2006 issue).

These are the key elements of the reformed LOU:

  • Higher education institutions should enjoy more autonomy, in line with the European Union’s wish to modernise the European higher education system. Autonomy is regarded as an essential element in order for universities to keep up with the changes and needs of a fast changing and global society;
  • Higher education institutions will be free to choose how to elect their rector;
  • Academic staff will be selected through accreditation (by a competent body), so universities will be able to choose their staff from a list of accredited individuals. This system will replace the current concours system;
  • The national agency for quality assurance and accreditation will become a state body;
  • The creation of mixed research institutes, which will become the meeting point of academic research and industry.

Proyecto de ley organica (in Spanish)