Spain’s Higher Education Minister Resigns Amid Protests Over University Reform - Reports

© AP Photo / Emilio MorenattiStudents protest during a demonstration in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. Hundreds of young people decided to set up camp after Spain's Supreme Court convicted 12 separatist leaders of illegally promoting Catalonia region's independence and sentenced nine of them to prison.
Students protest during a demonstration in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. Hundreds of young people decided to set up camp after Spain's Supreme Court convicted 12 separatist leaders of illegally promoting Catalonia region's independence and sentenced nine of them to prison. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.12.2021
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Spain's higher education minister, Manuel Castells, has stepped down for personal reasons amid protests over the university law reform, Spanish media reported on Thursday.
The minister will be replaced by Joan Subirats, a Catalan politician and former culture councilor for the Barcelona city council, according to the Catalan News outlet.
In Barcelona, about 1,000 students took to the streets for the second consecutive day of protest. On Wednesday, they blocked the road to the Autonomous University of Barcelona campus with trash cans, Spanish newspaper Efe said. On Thursday morning, they rallied toward the government building and were stopped by the local police. The demonstration was peaceful, according to reports.
Local strikes have also taken place in the Catalan cities of Lerida and Girona, Valencia's Castellon, and Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands.
The protesting students claim that the draft law on the so-called organic university system, widely referred to as the Castells law, may undermine the transparency and democratic foundations in Spanish universities rather than make them modern and progressive, as its authors intend. The Spanish government has endorsed the proposed revision, saying it would attract more talents and link the university system to the economy as well as improve the working conditions of teaching and researching staff.
President of the Catalan regional Government Carles Puigdemont leaves after a debate on the government's question of confidence at the Parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona on September 29, 2016 - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.09.2021
Ex-Catalan Leader Puigdemont Released From Arrest But Not Permitted to Leave Sardinia, Report Says
The draft law proposes such new practices as allowing each university to create its own skill tests for non-EU students, making academic careers depend on teaching results, allowing rectors to be elected from among civil servants, and allowing wider engagement of private companies with universities.
The proposal was approved by the executive branch in August, but is yet to be voted on in the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the Spanish parliament.
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