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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation and governance


2.Organisation and governance

Last update: 27 February 2024

The 1978 Spanish Constitution de 1978 established a model of decentralised State. It is a  symmetrical model where the educational powers exercised by the Autonomous Communities are basically the same.

The competences in terms of non-university education are shared between:

  • the  State General Authority (Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD);
  • the  autonomous communities (departments for education). In the Cities of Ceuta and Melilla these competences are assumed by the MEFD;
  • local authorities;
  • educational institutions.

The Organic Law 2/2006 on Education (LOE) and the Organic Law 3/2020 amending it (LOMLOE) both regulate the education system and establish the educational competences held by the Administration and the autonomous communities.

Distribution of powers between decision-making bodies in the field of non-university education in Spain

The Administration, through the MEFD, is responsible for:

  • the general organisation of the Spanish education system;
  • general planning for education;
  • the establishment of minimum learning standards;
  • the regulation of the conditions for the obtaining, issuing and recognition of academic and vocational qualifications, and of the basic rules for the development of the right to education;
  • the evaluation and innovation of the studies integrating the Spanish education system;
  • the education inspection;
  • the regulation, as a minimum, of the modalities and amounts of the general system of scholarships and study grants, the economic and academic conditions to be met by beneficiaries, as well as the cases of incompatibility, revocation, reimbursement and any other requirements necessary to ensure equal access to the aforementioned scholarships and grants;
  • the promotion of equality, non-discrimination and universal accessibility policies in the field of their competences;
  • the creation or withdrawal of teaching specialities, their basic regulation and the preparation of the basis of the legal system of teachers civil service;
  • the basic aspects which educational agreements with private institutions must be subject to.

In turn, the  departments for education of the autonomous communities are responsible for:

  • the legislation development of State rules and the regulation of non-basic elements or aspects of the education system;
  • the executive and administrative competences for managing the education system in its own territory;
  • the definition of the curriculum for their territorial area of competence on the basis of the minimum teaching standards established for the whole country;
  • the regulation of the structure and functioning of the bodies they establish for the performance of education inspection in their respective territorial areas;
  • the necessary regulations for the development of the system of educational agreements with private institutions.

And, in turn, local authorities are responsible for:

  • creation, maintenance and monitoring of those buildings for public institutions of pre-primary, primary and special education;
  • collaboration with the corresponding Education Authorities in obtaining the necessary site to build the new public educational institutions;
  • the management of certain educational services, in order to promote greater efficiency, coordination and social control in the use of resources, by delegation of the regional ministries or departments of education of those autonomous communities that so agree.

Finally, the educational institutions, within the framework established by state and autonomous community regulations, have the autonomy to draw up, approve and implement:

  • their educational project;
  • their management plan;
  • their organisational and operational rules.

Distribution of educational powers in the design of the curriculum for non-university education

The MEFDis responsible for:

  • establishing, in relation to the objectives, competences, contents and assessment criteria, the basic aspects of the curriculum, which constitute the minimum teaching requirements. In the case of vocational training courses, the learning outcomes are considered part of the minimum teaching requirements;
  • establishing 50 percent of the school timetables for the Autonomous Communities that have a co-official language and 60 percent for those that do not;
  • validating the certificates corresponding to regulated types of provision;
  • establishing mixed curricula for different types of provision of the Spanish and other education systems.

In turn, the  departments for education of the autonomous communities are responsible for:

  • establishing the curriculum of the different non-university education programmes, which must include the minimum teaching requirements established by the Ministry; 
  • determining the percentage of the school timetables of the educational institutions within their area of management in order to guarantee the integrated development of all the competences in the educational stage and the incorporation of contents of a cross-curricular nature in all areas, subjects and fields;
  • periodically reviewing the curricula in order to adapt them to the advances in knowledge, as well as to the changes and new demands of their local area, of Spanish society and of the European and international context;
  • issuing the diplomas of regulated studies.

Finally, educational institutions have the responsibility to develop and complete, where appropriate, the curriculum of the different stages and cycles in the use of their autonomy; a specification set and approved by the teaching staff.

Lastly, it should be noted that the Spanish Constitution, as well as subsequent educational laws, have guaranteed, encouraged and arbitrated the participation  of all sectors of the educational community in the organisation, governance, operation and evaluation of educational institutions, and in the general programming of education.

As for university education, educational responsibilities are distributed between:

University education is subject to its own specific regulations.