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Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Presentation

Despite Spain’s economic crisis, cooperation between the two countries continues to thrive and is manifested on a daily basis by major exchange programmes in the fields of education, language and culture. The French cultural network in Spain, consisting of five Instituts Français (8,300 students in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao and Saragossa) and 21 Alliances Françaises (9,600 students), ensures a balanced presence nationwide that is vitally important in such a highly decentralised country. Although French is the second most commonly taught modern language in Spain, its position remains fragile, since a second European modern language is optional in the Spanish education system.

Educational and linguistic cooperation

Over 20,000 pupils are enrolled in the 22 French schools operating in Spain. The number of Spanish students coming to France to study has remained relatively stable over the past decade. In 2010, there were some 5,000 Spanish students in France, of whom 3,700 were enrolled in university while 1,300 attended grandes écoles.

France ranks as the second most popular host country for Spanish students.

In 2008, the Education Ministries of the two countries signed an agreement on the award of a dual diploma certifying completion of secondary education (known as the "bachibac" agreement). It sets out the terms for implementation of a programme under which successful candidates may be simultaneously awarded both the baccalaureate and its Spanish equivalent, the bachillerato. The intergovernmental framework agreement on language, educational and cultural schemes in schools, signed on 16 May 2005 in Madrid, further consolidated the presence of bilingual French and Spanish sections.

France is at somewhat of a disadvantage in terms of the reciprocal teaching of French and Spanish in the two education systems, however, since the Spanish Ministry of Education actively encourages students to learn English (by means of grants).

Scientific and technical cooperation

Cooperation agreements are in place between the leading French R&D agencies such as CNRS, INSERM, INRA and IFREMER and their Spanish counterparts. Collaboration on the part of CNRS involves five international scientific cooperation programmes, two European Associated Laboratories (LEA) and ten joint participations in European and international research groups (GDRE-GDRI). Under the Hubert Curien Partnerships (PHC), around thirty joint research projects are under way, the aim being to integrate joint French/Spanish teams into the European Research Area (ERA).

Updated on 13.09.13

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