Massive strike by students and teachers in Spain

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Students and teachers staged a massive strike yesterday across the whole of Spain to protest against the government’s austerity measures and the planned education reforms.

Union pickets were placed at many schools and universities and the stoppage affected all levels of education.

The Platform for the Defence of Public Schools, which groups together students, teachers and administrative staff, called the strike to protest austerity measures which they say are running down the state school system. Organizers claimed a 65 per cent turnout by teachers for the strike, while the Education Ministry put the figure at 19 per cent.

They have also called on Education Minister Jose Ignacio Wert to withdraw a reform which sets new grading systems, places more weight on Catholic religion classes and further cuts education funds.

‘Teachers are working in very limited conditions with less time and fewer teachers than before’, said Almudena Cabezas, politics professor at Madrid’s Complutense University.

‘Pupils are being harassed with tax increases and have to cancel enrolments. Also, administrative staff are having their salaries reduced and are being fired…so I think we have every reason to be here today,’ she added.

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