SPAIN has been rocked by strikes over austerity cuts that could see some class sizes going up to 42 pupils.
Thousands of teachers and pupils took to the streets to protest against the €3 billion cuts, that could also see teachers losing their jobs.
In the major cost-cutting exercise Minister for Education Ignacio Wert announced last week that he wanted to see a 20 per cent increase in class sizes.
This will mean primary school classes being raised to a maximum of 30 students, while secondary schools could see as many as 36 children per class.
The highest increases however will be in the last two years of school, the Bachillerato, where pupil limits will be set at 42 students per class.
During the strikes, last week, one teacher in Valencia held his classes outdoors, on the basis that this is the only way he will be able to fit so many students in his classroom.
Meanwhile, protestors held up signs advertising ‘Wert’s sardines’, at ‘36-42 per tin’.
Other signs stated that education is not a cost but an investment and that education should be defended at all costs.
The unions have been angered not only by the increases in class size but also the way in which the government has tried to rush through the cuts without debate.
They have promised to continue with further strikes in June and September.
The recently formed Andalucia coalition government of Jose Grinan has announced that it will not apply the measures to increase the numbers of students per class.
The autonomous region has been locked in a battle with the central government over the number of hours in the school day as well.
It argues that education should be controlled by the autonomous regions.