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Manuel Castells backs down in his plan to “consolidate” the three-year careers and now force them to all last four years

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 – 07:19

A year ago I presented a draft where I bet on the so-called 3 + 2 model, defended by the Catalan campuses, which has now been banished after criticism from the university community.

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The Minister of Universities, Manuel Castells, in Congress.

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The minister of Universities, Manuel Castells, has taken a radical turn in his university policy. Less than a year ago he prepared a draft royal decree in which he consolidated the so-called model 3+2 (three-year degrees and two-year master’s degrees) promoted by José Ignacio Wert together with the more generalized 4+1 (four-year and master’s degrees of one). After the criticism that this draft received from the majority of the educational community, and also from United We Can, it has reformulated the text from top to bottom and now practically prohibits the existence of three-year courses. Just the opposite.

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According to the draft of the royal decree that establishes the Organization of University Education and the Quality Assurance Procedure, advanced by El Pas, all degrees of 180 credits – that is, three years – will have to “modify their study plan to make it available 240 credits “, the equivalent of four years.

“To carry out this procedure, they will have the collaboration and guidance of both the center’s internal quality assurance systems and the corresponding evaluation agency,” continues the First Transitory Provision. Within four years of the entry into force of the norm, the universities that teach 3 + 2 will be able to proceed with the change “by means of a re-verification in a fast and specific way,” adds the draft.

It is the opposite of what I proposed a year ago: a flexible model where 4 + 1 and 3 + 2 could coexist, as occurs in most European countries and as agreed in 2015 Wert and the rectors: 4 + 1 for most degrees and 3 + 2 for areas of knowledge “that respond to new social, labor and economic demands.”

The 3 + 2 was a hard wear to the PP minister that Castells wanted to avoid. Students protested in the streets against Wert because it was believed that the new model would raise prices (the master is more expensive than the degree), favor private campuses and lower the quality of teaching. No one has organized demonstrations now and union unrest has been expressed in private.

The 3 + 2 is the trend in other countries

The truth is that the flexible model, with careers of different durations, preferably three years, prevails in Germany, UK The Portugal. In Italy the degrees are three years too. The 3 + 2 is defended by Catalan universities and perhaps that is why the minister initially wanted to give them a boost. The idea of ​​both Castells and Wert was to adapt more to what is being done in other foreign university systems to improve, among other things, internationalization.

That first version, however, caused a lot of strangeness within United We Can. The sources consulted assure that they were not even taught the text. One year later, the formation household has managed to put the most ultra-liberal minister of the Government, who came from the Berkeley with all kinds of ideas to make the university more competitive but that has ended up putting aside its star measure – a kind of de-functionalization of public campuses – to end up burying it within a more general organic law to be presented next fall.

The new draft of the decree seems written by a totally different person from the Castells of a year ago. It continues to bet on dual careers, which combine training with internships from the first day on the job, as is done successfully in the Basque Country, but it has lowered the weight of stays in companies within the study plan. If in the first draft they assumed between the 25% and the 50% in degrees and at least the 40% in the masters, now they are between the 20% and the 40% in the first and between the 25% and the 50% in seconds.

Companies will not select students

We can also see the hand of Podemos in everything that regulates the employment contract that the student signs with the company, organization, institution or administration where they will do their internships. In the first version, companies were allowed to select students and now that part has been completely eliminated.

The articles have also been updated to collect the new university realities generated by the Covid-19. The face-to-face class is regulated (if the teaching activity is carried out in the same physical space), hybrid (with between the 40% and the 60% of non-face-to-face credits) and virtual (with at least one 80% telematically).

Castells’ initial intention persists to reduce bureaucracy and streamline university degrees, as well as to single out academic projects to create on-demand content, as in USA. The decree also contemplates the lowering of the price of tuition, as requested by the students.

According to the criteria of

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