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Spain´s controversial education reform

Wert will revise university study grants

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A day after questioning whether a high school graduate with an average grade of under 6.5 (out of 10) should go to university at all, Education Minister José Ignacio Wert announced on Tuesday that he will revise the new minimum grade average needed to apply for first-year university study grants.

However, Wert did not say what this revised standard would be. The current minimum average to apply is 5.5.

Wert made the announcement after meeting with higher-education chiefs from all the Spanish regions; most had asked him to revise his idea for a 6.5 cut-off grade, according to three people who attended the meeting. Nobody supported Wert´s draft document as it stands now.

According to Wert´s plans, once in university students will have to pass all their subjects (or obtain an average of 6.5) in order to keep their grants. This requirement goes down to 85 percent of subjects passed, or an average of six out of 10, for especially difficult study programs such as engineering and architecture. Wert has noted that other fields of study could be included in this group. The ministry did not say how many grant applicants would be affected by the stricter grade requirement.

Controversy is nothing new to Wert. Earlier in the year, he stated his desire to "hispanicize Catalan students" through legal changes and introducing more coursework in Spanish in the northeastern region, where Catalan is now the main language at schools. He also incensed secular sectors of society by announcing more support for religion classes and state grants for schools that segregate students by gender.

Source: El País

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