You are in:
  • Send

Education, Culture and Sport

Sunday 31 December 2017


The Spanish education system has experienced a radical transformation since the approval of the Spanish Constitution in 1978. From a centralised system run by the State Administration to the transfer of its functions, services and resources to the different autonomous regions.

General Organisation and Administration of the Education System

The 1978 Spanish Constitution establishes a de-centralised State model that shares the exercise of education powers among all the tiers of government. These powers are distributed between the General State Administration (Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) and the autonomous regions (regional education departments). The model is symmetrical in nature, that is, all of the regions basically have the same powers over education, with the exception of the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, where the powers are exercised by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (Spanish acronym: MECD).

The role of the local authorities focuses on running the education system through the regional education departments or municipal education institutes.

Education centres also take part thanks to their autonomy on pedagogical issues - through the preparation of their own education projects - and in regard to the financial management of their resources and the drafting of their own rules on their organisation and functioning.

After the approval in 2013 of the Constitutional Law to Improve the Quality of Education (Spanish acronym: LOMCE), the education system has been immersed in a process of reform and redefinition. This law amended the Constitutional Law on Education (Spanish acronym: LOE), in force since 2006, which established the powers over education to be exercised by the government and their distribution in the design of the core curriculum for Primary Education, Compulsory Secondary Education (Spanish acronym: ESO), the Bachillerato [Higher Secondary Education], the second cycle of Early Childhood Education, Vocational Training (Spanish acronym: FP) and the system for Special Education.

Participation of the Education Community and University Education

The Spanish Constitution establishes that the public authorities must guarantee participation in the general planning of education. To that end, at the different levels of the education authorities, including teaching centres themselves, there are various collegiate bodies that ensure the participation of all sectors of the education community.

Two key bodies of a consultative nature operate at a national level: firstly the State Board of Education, for social participation in the general planning of teaching and for advice on draft bills and regulations to be proposed to and approved by the government; and secondly, the Universities Council, assigned functions of academic organisation, coordination, consultation and proposals on university-related issues.


Pursuant to the distribution of powers under the Spanish Constitution, and by virtue of Royal Decree 424/2016, of 11 November, establishing the core structure of ministerial departments, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport is responsible for the promotion, protection and dissemination of Spanish historical heritage, the State museums and the arts, books, reading and literary creation, cinema and audiovisual activities and State books and libraries, the promotion and spread of culture in the Spanish language, as well as for fostering cultural cooperation actions and, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, for international relations on cultural matters.

The cooperation body between the General State Administration and the autonomous regions on this matter is the Culture Sector Conference. The goal is to undertake coordination actions whilst adhering to the principles of institutional loyalty, cooperation and mutual respect in the exercise of the respective powers of each public authority.

It is worth mentioning the Jacobeo Council - the cooperation body to facilitate coordination between the General State Administration and the autonomous regions on St James' Way (Basque Country, Catalonia, Galicia, the Principality of Asturias, Cantabria, La Rioja, Aragon, Navarre and Castile and Leon) on action and recovery programmes on St James' Way and the celebration of the Holy Years of St. James.

Sports Policy

The National Sports Council manages the actions of the General State Administration, including public funding for sport. This is run in the autonomous regions and autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla by their General Directorates for Sport. There are also specific sports bodies under the provincial councils, island councils and local authorities.

As regards high-level sport, the General State Administration, in collaboration with the autonomous regions, through agreements and conventions, establishes the necessary measures for the technical preparation and scientific and medical support programmes for top-flight athletes, as well as their incorporation in the education system and their full social and professional integration.

Spain's sporting successes since the Barcelona Olympics and the planning of that event have been complemented in other areas, such as the design of comprehensive security policies at major sporting events, the strengthening of legal disciplinary cover, actions in defence of fair play and to combat violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance. Furthermore, the cover and visibility of Paralympic sport has increased to become one of the activities contained in the corporate social responsibility programmes of companies, as can be seen by the 41 companies that are associates of the ADOP Plan. All these aspects considerably strengthen the 'Spain Brand'.