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"The UNED model works well and is exported around the world", says Marcial Marín

Wednesday 31 January 2018
Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte

The State Secretary for Education, Professional Training and Universities, Marcial Marín, said that the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia [Spanish Open University] (UNED), in its role to unify and bring all of Spain together, works as "the university we want and build together". Furthermore, he said that its model "works well and is exported around the world".

The Spanish State Secretary said this during a speech at the ceremony celebrating the patron saint of universities, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and at the ceremony to appoint two new doctors honoris causa from the UNED - Giuseppe de Vergottini and Ángel López García-Molins.

According to Marcial Marín, everyone is currently working on a Spanish Strategy for Higher Education "following a non-binding motion by the Lower House of Parliament". The main objectives of this document include training, generating and transferring knowledge to the benefit of the public, and developing and improving the Spanish economy.

He highlighted the need to commit to internationalisation and specialisation "in order to improve and strengthen universities, fostering quality, their ability to compete, and the attraction and recovery of talent and resources". In this regard, he welcomed efforts by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport to improve the replacement rates, consolidating a major part of the talent already to be found at UNED.

He also said that, "in order to remain a benchmark in distance learning, we must work harder and attract the best from wherever they might be". He referred to the approval of the Beatriz Galindo grants for attracting talent, "which we hope will serve to improve quality and internationalisation".

After mentioning the budget allocated to the grants and scholarships system, which seeks to surpass the highest figure on record of 1.42 billion euros by an additional 50 million in 2018, he announced a 2.75 million-euro increase to the budget allocated to UNED in the General State Budget, which will serve to improve the operating and infrastructure costs of this institution.

Constitution and Spanish Language

In his speech, the Spanish State Secretary recalled the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas, "The only tool available to man, for both perfecting ourselves and living decent lives, is education". In this regard, he highlighted the achievements of the Italian jurist, professor Vergottini, "one of those chosen to form part of this honorary faculty".

An expert on the European Union and constitutionalism, Marcial Marín recalled that UNED gave this same recognition to the seven fathers of the Constitution in 1991. Now celebrating the 40th anniversary of that document, he quoted the words of King Felipe VI yesterday when he presented his daughter, Princess Leonor, with the Golden Fleece: "You will be guided by the Constitution, fulfilling and observing it", the same mandate to which we should all pay heed.

Furthermore, he provided context for the appointment of professor Ángel López García-Molins, at the recent presentation of "Spanish, a Global Language", based on which, as the President of the Government said, we are going to promote the value and use of Spanish and foster its capacity to generate opportunities for the Spanish-speaking community. Quoting Rafael Lapesa, also distinguished by UNED 30 years ago, he asked "to give our language the utmost flexibility and wealth; let us empower it to tackle the needs of our time; but let us avoid the negligence or clumsiness that could ruin it".

Non official translation