From kindergarten to university, Spain’s education system came to a standstill on Tuesday as teachers went on strike in protest at austerity cuts and other measures designed to save money.
Classrooms remained empty as students and teachers stayed away. Evening marches were being planned in towns and cities across the country.
Parents’ associations and some private schools that receive state subsidies have joined unions. They claim thousands of supply teachers will lose their jobs.
“These cuts will lead to between 80,000 and 100,000 workers in the education system being fired,” Francisco García, leader of the CCOO union told euronews.
“Most of them are teachers and the consequences of these job losses will be a loss of quality and equity in the education system. The reason is that students who have more problems and need more help from the education system will be those who will suffer more prejudice.”
The central government has ordered Spain’s 17 autonomous regions to cut three billion euros from education spending this year as part of a drive to slash the deficit.
The average number of students in each class is forecast to rise by 20 percent. Fees in state universities are also expected to go up.