Students take to streets as education cuts begin to bite

LAST UPDATED: 22 Mar, 2012 @ 23:52
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Students take to streets as education cuts begin to bite

ANGER at further cuts by the Rajoy government has drawn hundreds of thousands of teachers and students onto the streets around Spain.

Children of all ages joined their families and teachers in dozens of cities, some holding up placards saying: ‘They are selling our schools’.

They are furious about decreases in teachers’ salaries, the loss of teaching hours and cuts to university and special needs spending.

Protesters ignored Prime Minister Rajoy, who had pleaded to citizens to be supportive of urgent government cuts, which he argues are necessary to meet Brussels targets.

These protests are the second round of demonstrations that he has faced since being sworn in just two months ago.

Protestors are upset with the government’s current austerity package and proposed labour reforms. Trade unions led thousands of striking workers on  February 19 against new labour laws.

There is rising anger that after two years of austerity measures, sacrifices made have only resulted in a 0.8 per cent decrease in spending.

Furthermore, they argue that cuts are being made to ‘essential services of the welfare state’, which fall under the remit of the autonomous communities and are not central government.

The impact on education has been particularly significant, with up to three billion euros of cuts, a quarter of them in Catalonia alone.

Rajoy needs to further reduce the overall budget by 29 billion euros in order to meet targets set by Brussels and has called on the autonomous communities to persevere with the cuts.

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