People first. Rethinking educational policies in times of crisis using the capability approach

Alejandra Boni y Begoña Arias
Scuola Democratica

Within the Spanish public education sector there is a deep concern and unease that is resulting in a number of acts of protest: demonstrations, sit-ins in educational establishments, rallies, strikes, etc. - which have been more or less regular for several months.

The reasons for this widespread unease and anxiety have their roots, firstly, in the successive budget cuts in education that have been occurring since 2010 and, secondly, in the political and legislative measures that are being taken, such as the changes to the Ley Orgánica de la Mejora de la Calidad Educativa (Organic Law for the Improvement of Educational Quality, hereafter LOMCE).

In this paper we wish to analyse the changes that are occurring and the consequences of each one of them using the capabilities approach to human development (hereafter CA). This approach allows us to put people at the centre and evince, in a critical way, the unfair consequences of the educational policies that are being adopted, and possible alternatives to them founded on a different model of development.

The paper is organised in the following way: in the next section we will introduce the most relevant contributions the CA makes on education followed, in the second section, by a discussion of the main elements that make up the idea of citizenship of CA. We wanted to include this element because it is particularly relevant to the analysis of the current Spanish educational context where, amongst other measures, the subject of Education for Citizenship has been removed form the curriculum following the LOMCE reform. In the third section we describe the measures taken by the Spanish Government since 2010 under budget cuts due to the economic crisis. We will also see the social response to such measures and the arguments being presented. The fourth section encompasses an analysis of the measures from the perspective of CA and the fifth ends with the most important conclusions and recommendations for educational policies in times of crisis.