Spanish Government Approves The LOSU

The Council of Ministers has approved this Tuesday the preliminary draft of the Organic Law of the University System (LOSU), which will now go through its parliamentary procedure and which proposes measures to reduce precariousness in the university, rights for students such as academic unemployment or a spending commitment of 1 percent of GDP.

In this way, the law plans to convert the temporary positions of associate professors into indefinite ones , a measure that will benefit more than 25,000 associate professors and that will mean a reduction in the temporary nature of the university system, going from the 40% established by the current law to 8%.

This stabilization, according to the ministry, entails the improvement of the working conditions of teaching and research staff, guaranteeing seniority rights or rights to salary supplements and, in addition, measures are incorporated so that temporary teaching staff can access and promote in the academic career, through the recognition of their teaching experience in some Doctoral Assistant contests or the promotion of pre-doctoral contracts for those who want to join an academic career.

In addition, it ensures that the text recovers the original value of the figure of Associate Professor, who will contribute his knowledge in those subjects in which his professional experience is relevant, limiting his teaching to a maximum of 120 teaching hours; and incorporates the figure of Substitute Professors whose exclusive purpose is to replace the PDI with the right to reserve a job that temporarily suspends their services, with the aim of preventing universities from being forced to resort to other figures, such as the Associated.

The LOSU also proposes the commitment of a minimum expenditure of 1% of the Gross Domestic Product , which represents an increase in relation to the current expenditure data, which is around 0.7% on average of the GDP.

Among the main changes introduced by the Minister for Universities, Joan Subirats, is that relating to lifelong learning, that is, making universities target all ages, in order to respond to the skills needs in adulthood and due to the demographic change expected in the coming years.

Thus, it determines that lifelong training is a basic function of the university and its own lifelong training titles will be established through various modalities, including microcredentials, microdegrees and other short-term programs, which may have academic recognition. In addition, it establishes that public administrations will promote scholarship programs and aid for lifelong training within the framework of policies to promote international mobility.

The academic strike cannot be exercised on exam dates
One of the outstanding academic rights that it includes is that students will have the right to academic strike, guaranteeing, in any case, the student’s right to education. The universities will develop the conditions for the exercise of said right and the procedure for declaring the academic strike, which will be carried out by the representative body of the student body. This right cannot be exercised on the dates indicated for the evaluation.

The participation of students in the governing bodies of the university such as the Senate or the Faculty or Department Councils reaches a minimum of 25% at LOSU.

template rejuvenation
Regarding the teaching and research career, the LOSU establishes three stages in the academic career (access, stabilization and promotion) instead of the four of the Organic Law of Universities (LOU). Ten years will pass from the beginning of doctoral studies until stabilization, in order to achieve a rejuvenation of the university staff.

Access to the degree will be carried out with the figure of Assistant Doctor, with a six-year contract (instead of the five years of the LOU), eliminating the accreditation for this figure as is done in the rest of the European countries. , and accessing by public competition, in order to advance the entry age and also allow attracting international talent. After these six years, stabilization can be achieved through the figures of University Holder or Permanent Labor, through the relevant accreditation and a public competition. The figure of promotion will be that of Professor.

Open science and linguistic plurality
It also emphasizes aspects related to returns to society, incorporating new principles for teacher evaluations; These will be qualitative and quantitative, and will take into account the open access of publications, the territorial impact of research, linguistic plurality, professional experience, and the particularities of each academic discipline. In addition, and in order to avoid inbreeding dynamics, in all public tenders the convening university will be in the minority and the members will be chosen by lottery.

According to Universities, the LOSU is articulated in the European Higher Education Area and this framework is present throughout all its articles ; incorporates a title dedicated to internationalization; and establishes that the Government, Autonomous Communities and universities will develop strategies to internationalize the university system.

The European, Euroregional and international university alliances are reinforced, with the promotion of shared degrees; and the law makes the international mobility of students, PDI and PAS a priority. In addition, it speeds up study visas to attract talent and, at the end of undergraduate, master’s or postgraduate university studies, you will be able to apply for a two-year visa to do internships or work. It also creates a new figure of Distinguished Professorship whose function is to attract professors of academic and research prestige, both national and foreign.

In relation to governance, it states that the election of the representatives of the different sectors of the university community will be carried out by suffrage, and will have four basic structures: Senate, Governing Council, Student Council and Social Council. The Senate will be the body of maximum representation and participation of the university community, always guaranteeing a minimum 25% representation of the student body, as well as a representation of 51% for the civil servant teaching and research staff and the figure of permanent employment; and the Student Council is consolidated in each university.

Equality and disability plans
In terms of gender, it establishes that in order to create a university, public or private, equality plans must be in place, measures to eliminate the salary gap and protocols against all types of harassment. On the other hand, the Equality Units and the Diversity Units will be mandatory and all the university bodies and the personnel evaluation or selection commissions will be joint. In addition, in the competitions, positive actions may be applied to hire, under equal conditions of suitability, the minor sex represented.

With regard to disability issues, the diversity units must have a disability care service and have a plan for inclusion and non-discrimination on the grounds of disability, ethnic and national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity, and for any other social or personal condition. A reserve quota is also established for people with disabilities in public employment offers, universities must facilitate sign language, as well as promote their own studies adapted to people with intellectual or other disabilities.

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