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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectorial cooperation



  • Main actors: From the Spanish Constitution of 1978 (Constitución Española de 1978), a decentralized state is set up in which education is one of the powers transferred to the regional level on the basis of a scheme of powers shared between the national administration, through the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional), and the administrations of the Autonomous Regions, through their ministries or departments of education.
  • General distribution of responsibilities: The ministry implements the general guidelines defined by the Government in the field of education and regulates the basic aspects of the educational system such as the organisation of the different training levels, as well as its objectives, principles and legal framework. For its part, the Autonomous Communities develop the state standards and exercise full powers in the management of the educational system in their territorial area of action [1]. The definition of the contents and subjects to impart are defined only in part by the ministry, with the Autonomous Communities having a special role in the determination of the contents[2]. Local administrations can offer additional education and training activities to the provisions of the official curricula of the education system[3]. Finally, the educational centers have limited autonomy in the elaboration of their educational projects, and practically total autonomy in terms of the pedagogy, the economic management of their resources, and the establishment of their organization and operating rules[4].

Cross-sectorial cooperation

The guidelines of the national educational policies are discussed and decided at the Sectoral Conference of Education (Conferencia Sectorial de Educación) comprising the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training whose head serves as President, and the 17 Autonomous Regions, represented by their Education Counselors[5]. The Conference is structured into 6 thematic committees coordinated by the General Education Commission. These commissions function as bodies of permanent cooperation and the general directors responsible for the different subjects participate in their respective autonomous regions[6].

For its part, the State School Council is the participation body of the sectors most directly related to the educational sector[7]. Its scope of action is national and develops consultative and advisory works for the Government on all issues related to the education system[8]. The Council integrates the Autonomous School Boards (Consejos Escolares Autonómicos).

With regard to the University as part of the educational system, the Council of Universities, a dependent body of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, is an instrument for academic coordination, cooperation, consultation and proposal in university matters of the different Spanish universities. It is formed by the Minister of Education, who chairs it, and by the rectors of the universities as spokespeople. They amount to five chair people appointed by the Minister according to their relevance in the university sector. Also in the university sphere, the Conference of Spanish Universities Rectors (Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades Españolas (CRUE)), the main interlocutor of the universities with the government, has a special role. The CRUE oversees the regulatory developments affecting higher education, it promotes relations with the productive and social fabric, and promotes institutional relations between universities, both Spanish and foreign.

In terms of vocational training, the Regional Councils for vocational training are consultative and advisory boards for vocational training. To that end, they issue opinions and guidelines regarding VT design and programming, they coordinate with the School Council of the region as well as the University Council, they define their participation in the National System of Qualifications and Professional Training (Sistema Nacional de Cualificaciones y Formación Profesional), and they draw up VT's plans[9]. With regard to the Higher Artistic Teachings, the Board of Governors for Higher Arts Studies (Consejo Superior de Enseñanzas Artísticas (CSEA)), is an advisory body of the state administration which articulates the participation of the sectors related to the artistic teachings, it advises the Government and proposals are made for the development of the artistic teachings.

Besides, the Spanish Service for the Internationalization of Education (SEPIE), the Ministry of Universities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are in charge of the management, dissemination, promotion and impact studies of the Erasmus+ Program (2021-2027) in the field of Education and Training. At the institutional level, SEPIE collaborates with regional governments and universities, highlighting its direct link with the International Relations Offices (ORIs), with which the student networks maintain a continuous cooperation.

[1] Eurydice: Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level.

[2] The subject of debate is, as we will see in point 6.10 of this Chapter on current Debates and reforms.

[3] The training curricula are developed cooperatively between the Ministry and the Departments of education of the regions through the cross-sectional cooperation bodies.

[4] Eurydice: Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level.

[5] The educational powers in the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla are assumed by the Ministry as a whole.

[6] On certain occasions, the Minister organises rounds of meetings held with the Counselors individually, but no decisions are made in them.

[7] For their operation see: Functioning & organization of the State School Council.

[8] The State School Board was created in 1985 through the Organic Law regulating the right to education.

[9] See examples of Regional Councils for vocational training: Community of Madrid Council for Vocational Training, and INCUAM (Institute of Qualifications of the region of Murcia).