Spain has a high-quality educational system, as shown by one of the highest school enrolment rates and spending rates per student in the OECD countries, according to the report “Education Policy Outlook Highlights: Spain”. Moreover, the ratio of students to teachers is lower in Spain than the OECD and EU averages at all educational levels.
Data from the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE), collected in “La Universidad Española en Cifras” (The Spanish University in Figures), also indicate that the academic performance of the Spanish University System is among the best in OECD. In fact, 78.5% of university students finish their degrees—86.5% in the case of private universities—compared to the OECD average of approximately 70%.
Spanish is an important language in academia, business, and finance. It is the second most spoken language in the world, with more than 572 million Spanish-speakers, and it is also the official language in 20 countries. Spanish language use is also growing steadily: more than 20 million people are learning Spanish today, and by 2050, there will be 754 million Spanish-speakers. According to the report “Spanish, a Living Language”, by Instituto Cervantes, the contribution of all Spanish-speaking countries to the world’s GDP is 6.4%. This report also highlights that sharing a language doubles the trade exchanges among countries. DELE diplomas (Diploma in Spanish as a Foreign Language) awarded by Instituto Cervantes are official qualifications, internationally recognised and indefinitely valid.
Spain has a wide-ranging offer of university training programmes, both public and private. There are currently more than 80 universities, which run 500 research institutes. Moreover, there are 30 doctoral schools and 100 scientific and research parks for continued high-level training.
The high quality of Spanish education is shown by its status as the number-one choice for students receiving the European Erasmus scholarship, since 2001. Indeed, 10 of the top 20 universities chosen by European Erasmus students are in Spain. Furthermore, 13 Spanish universities are listed on the ARWU World University Rankings.
The integration of ICT into schools and teacher training is a constant priority for Spain. The European Union study “Survey of Schools: ICT in Education” emphasizes the level of ICT equipment in Spanish classrooms, compared to the European average. In this regard, the National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training (INTEF) plays an essential role in striving for excellence and innovation among professors.
Spain is a world leader in academic excellence, innovation, technology, and the transfer of knowledge to the industrial sector. Our country ranks 11th in scientific publications, according to the Scimago Journal Rank (SJR, 2015). Medicine (more than 25,000), engineering (more than 11,000), and biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology (nearly 10,000) are the fields with the most scientific publications, according to data from the Spanish R&D+i I Observatory (ICONO).
Spain is number 1 in Europe and the 3rd country worldwide in terms of biotechnology applied to agriculture. According to the EU, Spain is also among the top five in biochemistry and molecular biology. Spain also has an extensive network of high-level research centres connected to many schools and training centres throughout Spain. The facilities of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Singular Scientific and Technical Infrastructures (ICTS) are some of the most outstanding.
Spain’s cutting-edge cuisine enjoys worldwide renown, thanks to chefs such as Arzak, Ferran Adrià, and the Roca brothers. People from around the globe come to Spain to study at our fine cuisine schools. Noteworthy among these is the Basque Culinary Centre, located in the Basque Country, which has a School of Culinary Sciences and a Research and Innovation Centre for Food and Gastronomy.
Spain has an extensive network of Spanish Conservatories of Music, Dance and Dramatic Arts and several prestigious centres such as the Berklee College of Music and the Royal School for Performing Arts, which providing training in music, dance, and the dramatic arts at the highest level. Spain has long been a leading country in fashion and interior design, and its animated film and videogames sectors are also beginning to grow in importance. There is a wide range of training programmes, ranging from fashion design with the European Institute of Design (IED) and the IADE School of Design at the University of Alcalá, to videogames, animation or interior design with the ESNE.
Spain’s vocational and technical training (known as FP) programmes offer many professional opportunities. FP is organized into intermediate and advanced educational cycles, grouped into 26 professional categories, which are taught in more than 3,600 teaching centres. Every year, almost 800,000 students choose this training, a number which has doubled in recent years due to students’ high employability when they finish.
Over 100,000 people are studying an official master’s programme in Spain. According to the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings, our country hosts some of the most prestigious business schools in the world: IE, ESADE, IESE and EADA. Also in a leadership position are EOI, included on the Ranking Web of Business Schools, and ESIC, which is one of only European schools rated in the Top-Tier Employability section of QS Global 250 Business Schools Report 2017. Also noteworthy are Spain’s many successful university summer programmes.