FAQS: 9 frequently asked questions about the Fundació Bofill

The Foundation’s activity is to draw up proposals for the improvement of education based on data, reflection and the expertise of teachers, academics and those responsible for the education administration, among others. We publish analysis reports, design policies and launch projects that aim to show that creating increased and improved educational opportunities for all is possible.

But how is it done? Where do the resources come from to be able to carry out our activity, regardless of economic or political interests? Who decides which topics we address and which we don’t? Here, we briefly address these and other questions:

What is the Fundació Bofill?

We are an entity that promotes research and proposals for change to create increased and improved educational opportunities against social inequality. We do this by promoting research, debate and initiatives that increase society’s commitment to education and which generate greater public policies.

With the expertise and experience of hundreds of researchers, teachers and other actors within the educational community, we carry out rigorous research and disseminate it to make recommendations and proposals grounded in our educational reality.

Why was the Foundation created in 1969?

The Foundation was established in 1969 through a donation from husband and wife Josep Maria Vilaseca i Marcet and Teresa Roca i Formosa. It was not created as a family foundation but as a citizen’s foundation, and with the donation they were able to guarantee economic and political independence.

With these funds we have supported more than 2,800 research programmes and theses, seminars, projects and working groups on topics as diverse as the electoral system, political participation and urban regeneration. We also launched the first Panel of Social Equalities of Catalonia.

Since 2009 we have focused on education, with projects such as the Yearbook of Education in Catalonia, Lecxit and DeSegregACTION, among many others.

Who makes up the Foundation’s team?

The Foundation’s team is made up of professionals in pedagogy, sociology and teachers. These individuals identify areas of research and collaborate with actors in the educational community through seminars and other events to define proposals and design projects.

The Foundation also has a board of trustees, which oversees our independence and social contribution. It is made up of people from diverse backgrounds, who can ensure a broad view of the social challenges to which the Foundation must contribute.

Why does the Foundation put forward proposals for educational policies?

Since 2009, the Foundation has been committed to improving education, using this as a catalyst to enhance society. We believe that if we build a truly inclusive, equal education system, that generates valuable and meaningful learning, and which leaves no one behind, we will contribute to a better society.

That is why our mission since then has been to promote improved and increased public policies that allow us to move towards quality education and fight inequality. We make great efforts to develop proposals and make them available to all educational actors, and in particular we work to ensure that policy makers (government, city councils, provincial councils, etc.) make decisions that put educational equality at the centre of the political agenda.

In recent times for example, we have made proposals on how to finance schools so that those with greater needs receive more resources; on measures to reduce school segregation; on how to regulate state-subsidised private schools so that inequality and school segregation is not exacerbated; and on how to extend the right to extra-curricular education for all students and not just those who can afford it. These are proposals that we develop together with experts from universities, local authorities and teachers, and which draw on experiences that are already seen in neighbouring countries.

In all these areas, the Foundation advocates increasing educational investment in our country, prioritising educational change and equality. We believe that this is a condition (necessary, but not sufficient) for teachers to be able to carry out their educational work effectively. The work of teachers is very demanding, which is why we believe that there should be educational policies to support them.

How is the Foundation financed?

In 2021, 95% of the Foundation’s budget came from the legacy of the founders and 5% from activities and programmes funded by local authorities, other entities and companies.

Using our own resources from our own wealth we can guarantee, year after year, the independence and stability of the organisation and our most important projects and research (The Yearbook of Education, Educational Evidences, Lecxit and The Equality Formula, among others).

Does the Foundation depend on private companies and the government?

No, mainly because 95% of our resources are our own. Public or private grants (5%) allow us, in some cases, to extend the reach and impact of specific programmes. To give an example, never in the history of the Foundation has any public or private funder contributed more than 15% of the annual budget of the organisation.

What is the relationship between the Foundation and the administration and the Department of Education?

The legacy of the founders allows us to remain independent of the public administration, and the Foundation’s relationship with the administrations is based on making proposals for educational policies aimed at those who take decisions: the Generalitat, the municipalities and the political parties. That is why we publish a Yearbook of Education that analyses the main challenges, we produce reports with proposals and we also disclose public inaction and non-compliance.

We also supported a manifesto signed by more than 800 people and organisations to demand that educational policy be informed by the evidence. You can see, for example, a summary of the policies we proposed to the parties in the set of challenges and priority measures Vote Education.

What role do teachers play in our reports and research on how education should be?

All the proposals put forward by the Foundation for improving the education system are worked on and discussed with hundreds of teachers, because educational change cannot happen without those who are in the classrooms on a daily basis. Teachers, together with academic experts, educational specialists and the administration, are an active part of the seminars, events and working groups we organise every year. We believe that this collaborative work between teachers, school principals, sociologists and pedagogues, represents a valuable contribution to creating consensus and shared solutions to educational inequality.

What is the position of the Fundació Bofill on the privatisation of education?

Privatisation is one of the great risks that we must fight against. This is precisely why we advocate for better public policies that expand the opportunities of all children, regardless of family resources, and which combat growing social inequality.

Along these lines, we have recently presented several proposals aimed at strengthening the public educational offer and guaranteeing its quality and equality: The Equality Formula and State-Subsidised Private Schools: The Debate. These are two pieces of research that show that:

  • Improving the financing of the education system must prioritise an increase in the educational action of schools which teach vulnerable students, to make free education, and education which fights against educational inequality, effective.
  • Mixed provision models (subsidised public and private), such as that of Catalonia, tend to increase school segregation and educational inequality.

Catalonia is the seventh educational system in the OECD with more state-subsidised private schools, which do not share responsibility for the education of vulnerable students.

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