Chapter 8

Learning to Learn



In a couple of weeks I’ll be presenting a report on Spain’s position in international scientific production. To set about the task, yesterday I joined by colleagues Hakon and Jason in the library, an old building where the walls seem to talk and exude the aroma that only old books exude … a perfect setting.

After several hours of intense work we went out for a coffee and Hakon reminded us of the games of mus we used to play during the breaks on their Erasmus year, and at that point we regretted not having a Spanish deck of cards on hand. Jason was intrigued by the Spanish education system and asked us to tell him of our personal experiences. Luckily, this time I had Hakon to help me answer.

After several hours of intense work, our colleague Jason was intrigued by the Spanish education system and asked to Hakon and I to tell him our personal experiences.

The first Spanish business education centres and one of the first in Europe is the EOI, founded in 1955 with the objective of training experts in business administration. Nowadays a referent in the teaching of management of Environmental Business.

01_POSTS_#08_02The Spanish university system, that dates back to the twelfth century, consists of seventy-seven universities, fifty of which are public. There are 236 university campuses and they offer 2,413 courses, 2,758 official masters courses and 1,680 Ph.D. courses. The system is completed with business schools such as the IE Business School and ESADE Business & Law School Ramón Llul University — ranked among the five best in the world, or IESE Business School, EADA Business School Barcelona and ESIC Business & Marketing School. In the European scope Spain is the country with more Business Schools ranked in the top ten in Europe. This is reflected in the Financial Times classification ‘European Business Schools 2014’ that value different aspects such as the degree of internationalization of the business schools, its international projections, the professional and salary progression of the graduated, the degree of diversity in the cloister and in the lecture rooms and the degree of fulfilment of the expectations of students and customer companies.

Jason was interested in the key role played by universities in research and its relations with the industrial sector and the transmission of technology to the productive fabric. The university system represents two thirds of the country’s total scientific production of international renown, which places Spain in ninth position in the world ranking established in 2007 by SCImago Journal & Country Rank.

The University of Salamanca is the oldest founded university in Spain and the second oldest European university in continuous operations. The formal title of ‘University’ was granted by King Alfonso X in 1164 and recognized by Pope Alexander IV in 1165.

01_POSTS_#08_03Spain has universities of international prestige such as those in Salamanca — the oldest in Spain — and Santiago de Compostela, the Complutense University of Madrid, the University of Barcelona, the University of Seville, the University of Granada and the University of Valencia, among others. Hakon pointed out that when it came to choosing where to go for an Erasmus grant, European students preferred Spanish universities and this was one of the reasons why he finally decided to travel to Barcelona and study at Pompeu Fabra University, that ranks among the one hundred best universities under fifty, along with three other Spanish universities: the Autonomous University of Madrid, the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

The Spanish university system represents two thirds of the country’s total scientific production of international renown, and plays a key role in our research activities.

Hakon told us that during his sojourn in the Spanish city one of his favourite pastimes was visiting the works by Art Nouveau architect Gaudí: strolling through the Sagrada Família, sunbathing at Park Güell, imagining he lived in Casa Milà … Unfortunately, my Norwegian friend was unable to discover other architectural wonders of Spain such as the Alhambra Palace in Granada, World Heritage Site along with Burgos Cathedral, the Mosque of Córdoba, the most important Hispanic-Muslim monument, the Roman Theatre in Mérida and the historical quarter of Santiago de Compostela.

This made us imagine a caravan journey through Spain to visit old universities like the one in Salamanca and mediaeval cities such as Toledo, and immerse ourselves in the landscapes of Asturias. Jason is already planning it! It would be unbelievable, wouldn’t it?

01_POSTS_#08_notebookIf you are interested in ‘How is the Spanish knowledge-based system?’ you can have a look at my notebook where I’ve drafted some official information available that you could find useful if you are thinking to move to Spain for doing some education program.