Educational equity in election manifestos: what are the parties proposing?


What significance is placed on educational equity in the election manifestos of the parties represented in the Parliament of Catalonia? Are they proposing measures to address the main challenges the education system faces? Before deciding who to vote for, find out!

The 2021 Catalan Parliament election on 14 February is a key date for schools because the education system of Catalonia is also determined at the ballot box. The Covid-19 crisis has made the shortcomings in our system even more apparent than ever and it has highlighted the inequalities existing in the education system in Catalonia. So, what is needed to deal with this? Two things: political will and clear strategic commitments to meet the main educational challenges.

We at Fundació Bofill have met with representatives from all parties with seats in parliament in order to show them the document How to transform the education system, a brief publication that defines the 6 main challenges facing the education system and the 15 priority measures to deliver benefits in terms of equity and quality in the education system in Catalonia.

These include challenges such as reducing school segregation, the need to update our education system and eradicating absenteeism and school drop-out; other priority areas are mentioned, such as guaranteeing educational support to leave no child behind, beginning a path towards a high-quality universal 0-3 education, and eradicating educational inequalities out of school also.

Educational equity in election manifestos

Education is a cornerstone of present-day society; indeed, educational equity should be at the core of any political project. Consequently, we have read the election manifestos of the parties represented in parliament to gain a better acquaintance of what education policy pledges they envisage and what educational challenges they fail to refer to or specifically define.

There are many outstanding challenges and possible improvements. However, in the agenda How to transform the education system we have opted for those improvements that act as a lever for educational equity and which, in addition, have the potential to bring about broad consensus among the various parliamentary political powers.

Below we set out the 6 equity challenges and reveal the proposals included in the election manifestos in each of these spheres.

Achieving a nation without segregated schools

Ciutadans: the party mentions segregation, but it envisages measures that could escalate school segregation levels in many municipalities:

  • We will foster a Catalan Pact for Education that combats the abuses committed in the LOMLOE (Organic Act Amending the Organic Act on Education) against the Spanish language and special and government-subsidised education. We will give families the freedom to choose whether they wish their children to be educated at a government-run school or a government-subsidised school, and for children with special educational needs, at an ordinary school with support or at a special educational needs school. We will call on the Spanish Government to promote a State Pact for Education repealing the LOMLOE and laying the foundations for broad political and social consensus to approve a new consensus-based education act.
  • We will fulfil families’ right to choose their children’s education; we will renew the existing government subsidies and guarantee that government-subsidised education will remain free. We will champion use of the criterion of societal demand when deciding on the renewal of government subsidies and we will endeavour to guarantee that the funding assigned to government-subsidised schools meets the necessary investments. At the same time, we will ensure that government-subsidised education remains free, laying out oversight mechanisms to prevent government-subsidised schools from collecting fees without a legal basis, potentially excluding families with fewer resources.
  • We will cover one hundred per cent of the cost of school transport and we will set up new services to combat educational segregation. No family should pay anything for the transport service to any school supported with public funds. We will open new school transport routes between different areas to fulfil the right of all families to choose their children’s school, which will prevent segregation according to area of residence which adversely affects those pupils who are most disadvantaged owing to their social and educational environment.
  • We will transition towards school meals being free of charge at all schools supported with Catalan public funds. We will promote the establishment of the meals service in more schools as an instrument for delivering equal opportunities and reconciliation. Quality meals will be prepared using nutritional locally-sourced produce that is safe for health and children will be taught about healthy lifestyles.

Junts: the party’s manifesto specifies the need to combat school segregation: “We will combat school segregation by committing to balanced pupil distribution with co-responsibility on the part of all schools, providing them with the necessary tools and resources, particularly for those with greater complexity.” The party also defines measures to combat school segregation:

  • We will implement instruments for local governance to facilitate co-responsibility on the part of schools within the framework of the education districts.
  • We will identify those pupils with special educational support needs and we will pledge the educational and community resources to meet them.
  • We will prioritise upgrades to high-complexity schools, setting out measures for equivalency between the schools in the same education district.
  • We will strengthen and foster unique and exemplary educational projects at high-complexity schools.
  • We will assure the financial sustainability of all schools on the basis of a school place cost study.
  • We will provide additional resources for both the schools and the pupils that need it most according to their complexity and their socio-economic circumstances.

Esquerra: the party’s manifesto envisages the need to reduce school segregation and it is proposing: “To develop the pact to combat school segregation in Catalonia, which should serve as the road map for reducing school segregation according to areas and between schools in order to guarantee equal opportunities for all pupils.” In terms of specific measures, the following are included:

  • Guaranteeing equitable access to complementary activities, summer camps and school trips, free school material and an increase in the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals.
  • Setting up a Government of Catalonia Office, attached to the Catalan Ministry of Education, to improve interdepartmental and inter-administrative (social services, health, among others) coordination with a view to improving such procedures as those employed to identify pupils with special educational needs.
  • Enhancing funding for schools pertaining to the Catalan Education Service by implementing more equitable funding schemes, also taking complexity levels into consideration.
  • Promoting asymmetrical funding in keeping with the actual needs of schools and their social context to provide appropriate educational assistance to all pupils.

PSC: the party’s manifesto defines its “utmost commitment to equity and combating segregation” and measures are set out, such as “resuming programme contracts to enhance co-responsibility on the part of schools, regardless of their ownership; working towards not renewing subsidies for schools that segregate based on sex; restoring the 6th hour in government-run school in order to make up for educational inequalities and to promote supplementary teaching or complementary educational activities in schools; strengthening the Public Education Service as set out in the Act on Education in Catalonia (LEC, from the Catalan) and going further in delivering truly free-of-charge education.”

En Comú Podem: the party’s manifesto addresses the challenge of school segregation and proposals are set out, such as promoting “a social pact for education: forging an agreement with the education community as a whole – on the context of the pact to combat segregation – about the planning and measures to prepare for the upcoming school year and the educational emergency situation in a context of increasing inequalities.” This includes:

  • Reviewing the pact to combat school segregation and its implementing measures, as well as the design of a public municipal education policy to deal with this.
  • Undertaking school planning based on the school zoning scheme in order to determine heterogeneous schools and districts, which avoids concentrations of pupils at educational risk and mitigates the school selection options to reduce the segregating effects they entail.
  • Bringing about a widespread reduction in teacher-pupil ratios, particularly in contexts of population decline.
  • Reviewing the content of the decree for inclusive schools to employ it as an instrument in preparing detection models, and improving the decree on school admission.
  • Assuring a universal education that is free of charge in all stages.
  • Guaranteeing access to sufficient amounts of quality balanced food sourced locally in all schools universally and free of charge.

CUP: the party explicitly refers to the need to eradicate segregation. A number of specific measures are set out in order to reduce overcrowding in classes and in schools with a higher level of students with SEN for various reasons and in order to promote diversity within ordinary classes, guaranteeing the resources needed to deal with these issues. This will include:

  • Encouraging diversity in regular classes using measures that avoid a high proportion of students with SEN (special educational needs: families that are vulnerable, at risk of social exclusion, new arrivals, etc.) at the same school by setting up a quota-based system to ensure an equitable, fair and egalitarian distribution of pupils with SEN at the various schools.
  • Assuring free universal access to education for all pupils in Catalonia, passing laws to be able to unravel ties and end public contracts with private education bodies. The existence of private schools and government-subsidised schools encourages school segregation because it allows families to freely choose a school on discriminatory grounds. In addition, they act as an instrument that perpetuates the formation of a hierarchy in society to the detriment of the working class.

PP: the party does not consider the challenge of segregation and its manifesto includes measures that would increase levels of school segregation. The party does propose assuring free text books, school materials and outings included in the syllabus for vulnerable families.

  • We will improve educational subsidies with the aim of ensuring financing is on a par with the average for government-run schools.

PDECAT: the party’s election manifesto sets out the challenge of combating school segregation, with references to upholding “the freedom of families to choose their children’s education programme.” The party proposes:

  • Promoting balanced schooling that mirrors the social and cultural circumstances of the surrounding area in each school attached to the Catalan Education Service; envisaging the financial mechanisms needed to enable this commitment to equal opportunities to be met; taking into consideration social demand in education planning.
  • Implementing the Pact Against School Segregation, enacted by the Ombudsman of Catalonia and signed by most stakeholders from the education community, adopting the financial and logistical measures needed to enable this.
  • Guaranteeing that the new decree on educational offer planning and the admission procedure, and the decree on subsidies adhere to the specific circumstances of government-subsidised schools.
  • Progressing towards effective free education in all schools pertaining to the Catalan Education Service.
  • Delivering an education service entirely free of charge at all schools receiving public funds. The underfunding of the Catalan Education Service is one of the key challenges to address as part of the effort to achieve full equity.

Read the measures we at Fundació Bofill are proposing to combat school segregation.

Delivering educational support to leave no student behind

Ciutadans: the party considers the challenge of broadening educational support at disadvantaged schools and includes proposals, placing special educational needs schools in the spotlight:

  • We will increase the resources allocated to special educational needs schools after years of neglect. We will ensure these schools benefit from all the resources needed, such as sign language interpreters, in order to deliver quality support for all pupils with special educational needs, particular those needing personalised and highly specialist support. We will champion the existence of these schools as part of a mixed system in which families can choose between schooling at special educational needs schools, at ordinary schools with assistance or at schools with special assistance classrooms.
  • We will launch a programme to increase the number of teaching assistants to support diversity, particularly at schools with a larger proportion of students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.

Junts: the party considers the challenge of ensuring educational assistance for pupils with greater difficulties. The manifesto sets out measures such as: “We will enhance vocational and school guidance while strengthening the role of tutoring” and “We will promote school education projects to ensure pupils can benefit from the range of measures and assistance intended to encourage their personal and social development.”

  • We will strategically plan resources by coordinating the identification of needs with the advance of new inclusive cultures, policies and practices through sizing, reorganisation and transformation of resources and means of assistance.
  • We will publish a chart of resources (such as intensive inclusive schooling assistance, the comprehensive assistance classroom, the SEN school providing services and resources, etc.) in order to become familiar with existing resources and plan an equitable, efficient distribution in keeping with the needs of all pupils throughout their education process.

Esquerra: the party refers to the challenge of assuring educational assistance for those pupils who need it most and “delivering appropriate educational support for all pupils.” The party includes specific proposals, such as:

  • Applying a healthy timetable model that makes it possible to ensure pupils benefit from proper nutrition, proper rest and conditions conducive to their learning and development. Determining everything that unfolds within school from 8 am until 6 pm as learning time.
  • Ensuring the presence of the figure of the guide at each school, VT institution, adult education schools and official language academies (as well as at those secondary schools that do not have such a figure).
  • Promoting and enhancing links between families and schools to create a setting of co-responsibility to enhance pupils’ teaching-learning process.
  • Setting out a plan for supporting schools exhibiting educational complexity and for improving professional and employment conditions for leaders and teachers at these schools. The goal of the foregoing shall be to build teams that are highly committed to delivering engaging educational projects to reduce school drop-out.

PSC: the party refers directly to the need to strive to achieve an inclusive school and puts forward a range of measures to strengthen support by means of teaching and non-teaching staff to assist those pupils who need it throughout the day. The party also mentions measures to offset socioeconomic inequalities, such as the implementation of a specific programme of scholarships and grants for education.

  • Reducing teacher-student ratios to improve the quality of educational support and incorporating new qualified professional profiles into the education system to enable teachers to jointly work on supporting pupils in more complex situations.
  • Working towards a genuinely inclusive school and strengthening support for pupils with SEN (special educational needs): increasing the provision of teaching and non-teaching staff to strengthen educational support for pupils with SEN at schools and secondary schools both during class and non-class times (trips and camps, lunch time, extracurricular activities, etc.); extending continuing training for teachers to deal with new needs increasingly arising in classrooms; publishing a map of resources for the inclusive school so that said resources can be transferred to where the pupils are rather than the other way round; and promoting a campaign addressed to families and professionals about the right of children to inclusive schooling.
  • Fostering a specific programme of scholarships and grants for education within the framework of a wide-reaching educational equity plan, capitalising on the forthcoming transfer of grants from the Spanish Ministry of Education and supplementing them with Catalonia’s own resources and approaches; setting up an observatory for educational equity to provide systematic indicators on the monitoring, support and design of actions to improve equity.

En Comú Podem: the party makes no explicit reference to the challenge of guaranteeing educational assistance, but it does put forward proposals intended to ensure inclusive schooling can be delivered in all respects by means of the following actions:

  • Drafting an education funding act to guarantee the lifelong right to education. Such an act must introduce criteria to adapt investment to the needs of schools, meeting the actual cost of a school place, establishing the system’s co-responsibility as regards equity through coordinated management of policies for redistribution and the maintaining of preparedness to deliver an education.
  • Drawing up specific plans to enhance investment in high-complexity schools.
  • Strengthening and coordinating academic and vocational guidance in schools.

CUP: the party does not explicitly address the challenge of assuring educational assistance for those pupils with greater difficulties, but it does refer to the eradication of obstacles to access and the incorporation of new professional profiles to support pupils. The measures include:

  • Laying out specific protocols to guarantee all pupils with SEN at government-run schools are granted access on equal terms to the various educational activities and resources (educational materials such as books, Chromebook; school trips and school transport), particularly at schools outside built up areas where ancillary services (transportation, childcare and school meals) become an essential requirement.
  • Incorporating new professional figures to provide effective personal guidance from very early ages.

PP: the party gives no consideration to the challenge and no measure is set out to deal with it.

PDECAT: the party refers to the need for educational support to leave no child behind and it proposes measures in order to ensure this is delivered:

  • Schools should be forums for opportunity and personal growth to enable all pupils to achieve academic success. The coordinated efforts of teachers and professors, and especially the public policies that are implemented, must ensure the provision of the general and specific support needed to leave no child behind.
  • Backing should be provided to the highest complexity schools, assigning the necessary human and material resources to allow all pupils to achieve academic success thanks to personalised education.
  • Broader educational guidance should be provided throughout a pupil’s education as one of the basic foundations in supporting pupils throughout their academic pathway. This should be personalised guidance delivered by an individual considered a role model for pupils within the school setting.

Read the measures we at Fundació Bofill are proposing to guarantee educational support to leave no child behind.

Updating the education system

Ciutadans: the party makes no reference to the challenge of updating the education system but they do include certain measures to improve teacher training and strengthen school leadership:

  • We will implement a teacher training foundation programme in order to attract the best individuals into the teaching profession and to ensure they are able to develop their full potential.
  • We will enhance the independence of schools and their governing bodies in order to improve the educational outcomes they deliver.
  • We will commit to continuing training for teachers and we will develop the horizontal career within the public teaching service.

Junts: the party states the need to update the education system and offers proposals such as the following:

  • We will overhaul admission to university through the university entrance exams and we will commit to a more flexible, skills-based model as a result of the change in the syllabus at higher secondary level, which is less memory-based and more practically-oriented.
  • We will promote a new continuing teacher training plan intended to train in-service teachers in order to effectively deliver the educational update.
  • We will reform post-compulsory and compulsory secondary education in terms of skills and, as a result, the university entrance exam.
  • We will ensure that all pupils benefit from electronic devices and the connectivity needed.
  • We will establish benchmark education schools, a mechanism envisaged in the Act on Education in Catalonia, to acknowledge those schools that are engaging in quality education practices and, likewise, so they can serve as initial teacher training schools.
  • We will lend priority to disadvantaged schools with additional resources and programmes to speed up the process of change and encourage the eradication of segregation.
  • We will facilitate networking within education districts in order for the best teaching and management experiences to be shared.
  • We will strengthen research within schools using an integrated R&D&I system in conjunction with universities with the objective of enhancing educational practices and policies.

Esquerra: the party gives consideration to the challenge of committing to a “transformative education system adapted to the needs of the 21st century” and sets out specific measures to implement it, such as:

  • Assuring pupils develop digital skills through learning and experience in order to manage digital needs in everyday life.
  • Providing material resources in order to address the digital divide experienced by pupils, thereby guaranteeing equal opportunities.
  • Providing support to families with digital education in the personal and family setting.
  • Incorporating educational research and the gathering of evidence for decision-making.
  • Altering times and spaces to encourage skills-based learning.
  • Progressing towards the establishment of benchmark education schools.
  • Building a new teacher training model and defining the new teaching competencies needed within the 21st century context.
  • Continuing to promote an education model founded on the learning of skills and comprehensive schooling of pupils, a personalised model that ensures every single pupil achieves academic success.
  • Continuing to commit to independence of those schools that are meeting the specific needs of each education community based on the school’s educational project.
  • Comprehensively reforming initial teacher training and permanent training.

PSC: the party explicitly refers to the challenge and sets out measures to address it, including: promoting methodological reforms, committing to co-education, incorporating emotional and sex education into the teaching content, etc.

  • Working towards pedagogical renewal and updating the education system in keeping with the approach put forward by UNESCO for the coming decade; promoting methodological reforms at the various educational levels to provide teachers with the resources to be able to focus their responsibility on each of their pupils and to ensure every one of them achieves the necessary skills to develop full citizenship in today’s and future society.
  • Committing to co-education: prioritising the application of the principle of co-education in schools at all stages of education; incorporating emotional and sex education into the teaching content; refusing the renewal of subsidies for those schools that segregate based on sex.

En Comú Podem: the party envisages the challenge of updating and bringing the education system into the present day circumstances, and it sets out certain measures to digitalise schools and review the syllabus:

  • Using training and other means to encourage educational improvement and pedagogical renewal based on experience and the sharing of activities in class.
  • Promoting cooperation among schools and avoiding competitiveness between them.
  • Fostering school digital empowerment plans in combination with the citizen platforms operating according to the values of democratic digitalisation and technological sovereignty.
  • Promoting a line of funding for research to review school syllabi, steering them towards critical training that builds knowledge; training that is empowering and strengthens the values characteristic of the humanistic social model. This should be compatible with a more holistic, comprehensive approach to learning.
  • Drawing up support programmes for new teachers during the early years of their professional practice based on tutoring, training and advice, guaranteeing at least one year of supervised teaching.
  • Increasing investment in and diversification of permanent training. Such training must be in conjunction with simultaneous processes of innovation and educational research, and academic and scientific skill; it must also be delivered through close cooperation between school and university.

CUP: the party does not consider the challenge of updating the education system in its manifesto. It only points to the need to digitalise schools, referring to:

  • Democratic digitalisation of all schools. To champion the rights and security of the entire education community a digitalisation plan needs to be set up to promote the use of various locally-based, verifiable digital tools (free software), tools that are ethical, adhere to data protection regulations and respect human rights. Face-to-face teaching should only be replaced with digital remote learning in emergencies.
  • Assessment should serve as a tool to improve schools, conducted by the professionals working there internally using peer-based mentoring, support and training mechanisms; assessment in order to acknowledge the work of pupils and allow them to progress with their learning. This should be focussed on student improvement, the role of education, the schools and the education system at all stages. Under no circumstances should it be used as an instrument of propaganda or for political, social or occupational pressure. Forms of joint assessment and self-assessment should be blended, striving to ensure the activity unfolds in a democratic, transparent manner.

PP: the party does not consider the challenge or any measure to address it.

PDECAT: the party gives consideration to the challenge and puts forward specific measures to update and transform the education system in Catalonia. The foremost measures include:

  • Updating the syllabi of initial training for practicing teaching – in conjunction with universities – to adapt said them to present-day schooling demands in highly changeable contexts.
  • Establishing a support system for admission to the teaching role – in conjunction with universities – showcasing teachers of schools with proven experience to allow them to act as mentors.
  • Promoting permanent training of teachers and associating it with pedagogical quality improvement and innovation processes, whilst enabling participants to benefit from leave and timetable adjustments under a pro bono publico scheme.
  • Enhancing professional promotion and financial incentives assigned to teachers who excel in their role.
  • Strengthening the empowerment of leaders by promoting organisational and pedagogical leadership to ensure the effective, inclusive management of the professionals at each school.
  • Broadening the skills-based aspect of syllabi and the educational nature of assessment by adopting suitable methodologies; taking into consideration the importance of concept-based content in the structuring of knowledge; delivering digital skills.
  • Designing skills-based university entrance exams.
  • Bolstering national and international school networks to share innovative management and pedagogical experiences.
  • Boosting the independence of schools as a key strategy for quality improvement, along with the capacity of leaders to define unique teaching profiles according to the school’s educational project.
  • Updating the organisation and operation of education inspections in order to address new circumstances and assure quality standards that are common to all schools.

Read the measures we at Fundació Bofill are proposing to bring the education system into the present day.

Ending absenteeism and school drop-out

Ciutadans: the party explicitly refers to the need to eradicate school drop-out and puts forward a programme to increase the proportion of teaching assistants, conduct diagnostic assessments to identify the risk at an early stage and ensure a better exchange of information between families and teachers.

  • We will reduce early school drop-out and year repetition rates to below the European target of 10%. The school drop-out rate for Catalonia recently stood at 19%, higher than the average for Spain. We will launch a programme to increase the number of teaching assistants to support diversity, particularly at schools with a larger proportion of students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. We will broaden the information provided to parents and teachers by introducing diagnostic assessments to detect those pupils who are at risk of school drop-out at an early stage and to identify the best practices to assist them.
  • We will foster vocational training (VT) and increase the number of places in all categories.
  • We will commit to an integrated VT model in order to capitalise on training synergies and opportunities for cooperation with Catalan industry and companies.
  • We will raise the prestige of VT as a complementary pathway that carries equal weight to a university education.

Junts: the party’s election manifesto sets out the need to combat absenteeism and school drop-out, and measures such as the following are specifically announced:

  • We will commit to a community-oriented approach that encourages networking among authorities.
  • We will foster local education plans and education districts, delivering more resources to high-complexity schools and promoting the presence of new profiles within the education system, such as social educators.
  • We will improve on and progress with early detection in the various education stages in order to prepare individualised plans.
  • We will enhance vocational and school guidance while strengthening the role of tutoring to ensure a smooth transition to post-compulsory programmes.
  • We will strengthen new educational opportunity institutions and grant broader acknowledgement to the role of socio-educational organisations to attract and train young people who drop out of their education early.
  • We will implement a system of salary grants for young people between the ages of 16 and 18 from disadvantaged households.
  • We will strengthen the role of vocational training to establish it as a key formative pathway within the areas of post-compulsory education.

Esquerra: the party examines the challenge of combating absenteeism and drop-out by proposing measures such as the following:

  • Promoting an action plan to combat early school drop-out and absenteeism with specific investments for schools of high social complexity and by engaging in inclusive education initiatives and actions to encourage a re-entry into education and social and professional integration.
  • Setting out a plan for supporting schools exhibiting educational complexity and for improving professional and employment conditions for leaders and teachers at these schools. The goal of the foregoing shall be to build teams that are highly committed to delivering engaging educational projects to reduce school drop-out.
  • Enhancing dual and work-linked vocational training (VT): classifying the specialisations in demand on the labour market and strengthening them to meet the actual demand of businesses, while identifying future emerging specialisations.
  • Guaranteeing, as a necessity, universal education everywhere that leaves no one behind owing to economic reasons, imposing a legal protection on the 30% reduction in university fees and increasing the allocation of grants, particularly salary grants.
  • Supporting students in their transition to the labour market by means of a system of salary grants for all higher education programmes.

PSC: the party directly points to the goal of eradicating school drop-out by fostering measures such as local education plans and focussing particularly on those groups that are at greater risk, by means of the following:

  • Drawing up a plan to combat early school drop-out: reducing rates of early school drop-out and school failure as a matter of importance by promoting local education plans and fostering innovative measures and a plan to support the continued presence in education of risk groups; enhancing flexibility in secondary education by opening up pathways and careers that become second chances or new opportunities for pupils.

En Comú Podem: the party refers to the need to eradicate drop-out and school absenteeism and sets out certain measures, such as:

  • Drawing up a specific plan of instruments and actions to prevent and/or make up for the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on school segregation and drop-out, extending scholarships and grants.
  • Stepping up and coordinating occupational and academic guidance at schools.
  • Assuring mechanisms are in place to allow re-entry into the education system for students who have finished compulsory schooling without qualifying, varying the specific training offer to make it more receptive and ensure it allows for the building of personalised pathways with academic and educational value between the various stages in the system.
  • Reviewing the implementation of the dual VT system to guarantee that it delivers in reducing absenteeism and school failure rather than reducing the costs of regular training.
  • Providing a universal 0-18 educational offer which must include early childhood education, leisure education and adult education.
  • Guaranteeing a suitable and sufficient network of new opportunity government-run schools.

CUP: the party explicitly mentions the problem and envisages a number of measures:

  • We are witnessing high rates of failure and school drop-out which need to be addressed on the basis of a wide-reaching perspective of the educational reality by incorporating new professional figures to deliver effective personal guidance from very early ages.
  • We envisage measures such as the establishment of salary grants “to guarantee admission to university for students regardless of their financial, personal and family background.”
  • We will implement positive discrimination measures in the education sector to foster and assure access for racialised communities into all academic stages and fields.

PP: the party does not envisage the challenge or indeed any measure to address it.

PDECAT: the party refers to the problem as an “inescapable challenge, which relates to equal opportunities and tests society as a whole.” The party points to a number of specific measures and actions to address the challenge, including:

  • Regulating and subsidising new opportunity schools as a trustworthy instrument for offering training alternatives in the face of school drop-out.
  • Enhancing the mechanism for early identification of learning difficulties in order to provide an effective response and eradicate school failure.
  • Boosting the resources assigned to the entire education cycle of young people encompassing compulsory education, vocational training, continuing education, entrepreneurship and university programmes, while adopting the measures needed to enhance their quality and realign this training to meet the needs of the labour market and society and to be able to address technological and production method changes.
  • Ensuring universal education up to the age of 18, providing a range of education pathways at secondary level meeting everyone’s educational needs and interests to substantially reduce school failure.
  • Strengthening vocational training; expanding the offer of places throughout Catalonia, repurposing those specialisations exhibiting lower access to the labour market and enhancing the social prestige of these programmes.
  • Setting up benchmark vocational training institutions that integrate training cycles, continuing vocational training and occupational training in a specialisation and which engage in networking with all institutions delivering this training as well as with leading companies in the sector.
  • Broadening dual vocational training, adapting it to suit the range of companies operating in Catalonia.
  • Bringing the catalogue of professional qualifications up-to-date.
  • Maintaining the role and the employment conditions of the technical vocational training professor who is essential to ensuring quality specialist training.

Read the measures we at Fundació Bofill are proposing to eradicate absenteeism and school drop-out.

Eliminating educational inequalities also outside of school

Ciutadans: the party makes no direct mention of the challenge but it does set out the need to guarantee the participation of children with SEN in extracurricular activities to address the current inequality in access.

  • We will ensure the full inclusion of pupils with special educational needs in extracurricular and leisure education activities. We will provide grants for families with children whose specific characteristics act as an obstacle to them enjoying summer activities, such as camps.

Junts: the party gives consideration to the challenge and the need to guarantee “a school model with an all-round education community perspective, connecting teaching and non-teaching spaces and time to extend education and learning environments, ensuring a link between the activities organised by schools and the local educational resources, providing access to everyone.” The party sets out a number of measures.

  • We will deliver enhanced integration between educational activities unfolding in and outside ordinary schools within the context of the education districts and the city education projects.
  • We will ensure that the interests and motivations of children and young people are tied with the educational resources in the area to encourage learning and facilitate personalised education pathways.
  • We will guarantee access for and participation of children and young people in activities and initiatives with high educational value, enhancing the scope of and funding for local education plans.

Esquerra: the party sets out the need to deliver all-round policies “where pupils engage with local opportunities, needs and society.” The party proposes:

  • Ensuring equitable access to complementary activities, summer camps and school trips.
  • Bringing in measures to offer guidance and support to families.
  • Strengthening and extending local education plans as a strategy to progress with the full-time education model.
  • Fostering access for and participation by a range of education community sectors in cultural activities and proposals in order to encourage inclusion, equal opportunities for pupils and the development of an open, inclusive and learned citizenship.
  • Encouraging and improving ties between families and school to create a forum of co-responsibility to enhance the pupil teaching-learning process.
  • Fostering an educational project of co-responsibility with families, local councils and society to strengthen active involvement of families, to promote co-responsibility of councils as the education authority and to encourage engagement with the local setting. This should be a Catalonia-wide educational project that can provide a community-based approach to dealing with educational and social challenges.
  • Strengthening and extending local education plans as a strategy for making progress with the full-time education model.

PSC: the party considers the need and measures are set out in order to progress towards all-round education, by means of the following actions:

  • Addressing the timetable reform within the framework of an educating society, placing emphasis on improving the health of children and young people, their wellbeing, educational effectiveness, the contribution to equity and the expansion of grants and programmes to encourage access to educational non-teaching activities, thereby increasing the hours spent with the family and taking the rest that children and young people need.
  • Strengthening local education plans.

En Comú Podem: the party sets out proposals intended to foster community education while strengthening the role of non-teaching agents within children’s immediate surroundings and promoting activities that enhance the academic and social development of pupils: “building an association between all learning opportunities available during class and non-class times.”

  • Providing a universal 0-18 educational offer which must include early childhood education, leisure education and adult education.
  • Acknowledging the educating role of cities through area-based and local education plans, promoting networks of socio-educational co-responsibility to address educational and social challenges in a more effective manner.
  • Strengthening the diversity and quality of local and district-based socio-educational opportunities and guaranteeing access to them.
  • Recovering funding from the Government of Catalonia (which has been hugely cut back in recent years) for leisure organisations, parents associations and local councils to organise extracurricular, cultural and leisure activities with grants to tackle the cultural and financial barriers or the lack of availability which may be hindering access to these activities.
  • Promoting and supporting educational action and the establishment of learning settings beyond class times within schools, thus serving as public neighbourhood or municipal education facilities, adopting area-based strategies for cooperation between schools, organisations, public facilities, services and authorities.

CUP: the party gives consideration to the challenge of promoting all-round education policies to reduce inequalities that arise in access to educational activities out of school, and as a measure the party includes “enabling universal access for all pupils to educational leisure. If necessary, a specific budget should be assigned to this.”

  • Extracurricular activities should also be an option available to all pupils and, therefore, should be free for all families at risk of exclusion.

PP: the party does not consider the challenge or any measure to address it.

PDECAT: the party considers the challenge and sets out a number of measures to guarantee educational experiences can be enjoyed out of school:

  • The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on all non-profit organisations that work with children and adolescents in the sphere of leisure, education and culture. As a result, it is necessary to set out a support plan to guarantee the survival of this associative network.
  • Fostering free, high-quality extracurricular education programmes in conjunction with social organisations and local councils to combat segregation in out-of-class settings.
  • Promoting curricular and extracurricular arts education programmes; showcasing creativity through artistic education in close coordination with the foremost cultural heritage settings throughout Catalonia.
  • Ensuring the viability of unregulated arts education programmes by arranging agreements with the owners of institutions based on the programming of the specific offer; setting up a system of grants to ensure everyone can access artistic activities in their free time.
  • Delivering comprehensive responses to issues such as child poverty, segregation in extracurricular activities, the digital divide and the NEET phenomenon.

Read the measures we at Fundació Bofill are proposing to eradicate educational inequalities out of school also.

Ensuring quality 0-3 education for all

Ciutadans: the party refers to the challenge of investing in 0-3 education:

  • We will invest in children’s education by underpinning its learning-oriented nature; we will increase the number of childhood education places in order to progress to ensuring it is delivered universally and free of charge for all at this stage.

Junts: the party considers “delivering universal 0-3 education as a strategy to reduce social and educational inequalities” and proposes:

  • We will ensure there is an adequate quality offer that integrates public and social initiative, extending public coverage in those municipalities and settings that exhibit a shortcoming in available places.
  • We will deliver a policy of grants that enables all children living in poverty or vulnerable situations to gain access as a priority.

Esquerra: the party’s manifesto envisages “guaranteeing nursery schools for ages 0 to 3 for those families who request it” and “promoting grants for the first cycle of childhood education (0-3 years).” The measures include:

  • Promoting transport grants and free school meals as well as grants for the first cycle of childhood education (0-3 years) and for post-compulsory education for all those families that need them.

PSC: the party addresses the challenge of ensuring universal access to 0-3 education by including financial measures to foster joint funding by the various public authorities and extending the places offered.

  • “Ensuring the stage of education from 0-3 years is a priority universal public service and is vital when it comes to children’s development, to striving for equity and also to fostering reconciliation through such measures as: re-establishing the co-responsibility of the Government of Catalonia in funding nursery schools and day care centres; extending public places in these settings to progress towards universal delivery; and promoting educational opportunities for children and employment or training opportunities for their families as far as possible.”

En Comú Podem: the party champions the need to organise a government-run schooling network for ages 0-6 years that ensures the service is delivered universally and free of charge. It also proposes promoting coordination between nursery schools and primary schools to assure continuity and coherence between stages, with the following measures:

  • Organising a government-run network for ages 0-6 years delivering multidisciplinary assistance and support for early childhood which guarantees all families can access a high-quality nursery school free of charge, assuring there is a reduction in teacher-pupils ratios in both cycles, bringing them in line with European recommended levels, and delivering coordination, continuity and coherence between the two cycles in the 0-6 stage.
  • Prioritising and fostering public nurseries as a fundamental pillar in the offer for this education stage, extending and consolidating an adequate, sufficient public network.
  • Ensuring a universal education offer for ages 0-18 years, which must include early childhood, leisure education and adult education.

CUP: the party mentions the need to improve in terms of “access to and the scope of public care services, such as nursery schools, which are currently inadequate”, although it does not refer to any specific actions to deliver this.

PP: the party refers to the need to guarantee 0-3 education and proposes “increasing the number of government-run and government-subsidised places available, progressing towards a service that is universal and free of charge for the 0-3 year stage.”

PDECAT: the party tackles the challenge of “committing to the first cycle of childhood education with the aim of fostering the overall development of children’s abilities during the early years of life and at the start of the learning process.” Nonetheless, the party makes no reference to delivering universal 0-3 education free of charge. The measures include:

  • Preparing an up-to-date map of existing nursery school places to see where shortages are observed and to address them.
  • Maintaining funding for nursery school places at publicly-owned institutions managed by councils.
  • Setting up a financial grant system for social initiative nurseries at around 500 euros per year for each occupied place in order to provide them with support in a crisis context.

Read the measures we at Fundació Bofill are proposing to guarantee a high-quality 0-3 education for everyone.

It is incumbent on everyone to ensure education is at the heart of this election and for it to constitute the fundamental issue in the next term of parliament. We would like educational challenges to form part of the media and political debate over the coming months. We are inviting you to share this set of election pledges from the political parties with everyone you think may be interested.

Links to the election manifestos are shown below:

  • PSC (page 68)
  • CUP (page 50)

Do you want to find out more? We have published the document How to transform the education system detailing the 6 main challenges facing the education system and 15 public policy measures in order to address them.

Vote for Education: this paper is part of a series of content published by Fundació Bofill on the occasion of the upcoming election to the Parliament of Catalonia with the aim of helping to generate an informed public debate and placing the main educational challenges in the spotlight. You can see all the content at and, if you would like to receive news in your inbox, please subscribe to the Fundació Bofill’s newsletter.

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