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Blog post copyrighted © 2020. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.
By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer – Abogado
13th of December 2020
The Governor of the Bank of Spain, Mr. Pablo Hernández de Cos, made some firebrand declarations last November in which he asserted that Spain’s high levels of youth unemployment (the highest in Europe and out of every OECD country) can be pinned down to a subpar education. I have to say I feel vindicated by his brave assertions which have garnered much controversy. In Spain we need less yes men and more brave men like Mr. Hernández de Cos who has no qualms to speak out the truth, no matter whose feathers are ruffled. I'd care to add in that not only does a subpar education translate into high levels of (youth) unemployment, but also goes a long way to explain Spain's chronic low wages. For an in-depth take on the latter, interview with PhD in Economy Mr. Javier Díaz-Giménez.
I have been banging on this for several years in my articles, the last one being from September: 10 tips when money is tight in Spain – 8th September 2020. I am myself a product of both private and public education, having studied for many years in a public high school. I have witnessed first-hand the lack of resources teachers suffered from, chiefly financial, and how this severely impacts on education. Although this blog post will most likely be completely ignored by everyone, given the festive dates we are almost in, I feel strongly compelled to write it before this year’s end as my last post for this horrible year of 2020.
As I care to point out in my September article, Spain’s high levels of unemployment were a direct consequence of its overreliance on the Tourism industry which accounts directly for over 12% of our GDP, and indirectly by a further 6%. No modern economy should rely 18%, or more, of its GDP on tourism, this is simply crazy and irresponsible.
As a way out, I explained in my article’s conclusion that Spain’s youth were the key to this. Heavily investing in education is an absolute necessity that would help Spain to diversify its economy. No politician, no multi-billion euro stimulus package from the Union is going to ever achieve this goal. Only a concerted effort from all of the political spectrum will be able to clear the path allowing graduates to create their own companies and achieve the change over the course of several decades.
As I wrote in my September article, Spain ranks as the 13th most developed economy in the world, yet embarrassingly, has no university ranking amongst the first top 200. This is totally unacceptable no matter how you look at it and can be squarely blamed on our self-complacent political class. Spanish politicians should take cue from leading countries in the world, such as the United States of America and China, on how to invest in education, particularly higher education. A good education is what gives a country its competitive edge and pushes forward freedom and progress, bringing wealth on its wake. Education is the key to a country’s success.
In 2018 PISA report Spanish students scored the worst marks in Science than any other OECD country. Moreover, it was inferred that Chinese 12-year-olds had the equivalent academic level of a 16-year-old Spanish student. And this is precisely why China, in 50 years’ time, or even sooner, will become – once more – the world’s first super-power whilst Spain still sells sunbeds and holiday packages to tourists.
The gist of the problem is no other than Spain’s political class which are totally oblivious to the plight of our young generations. It is them that wield the power to make this change and make it happen. Instead, they choose to squander billions of euros every year on shady ideologically-friendly NGOs run by chums. If these billions of euros on good-for-nothing subsidies were instead allocated towards education, Spain would be a very different country indeed
Spain is in dire need of a complete overhaul of its academic syllabus, specifically higher education. Education laws, like the one recently enacted, the nefarious Ley Celaá, which allows students to pass with one, or more, failed subjects, which eliminates the Spanish language in several regions of Spain will only create generations of Spanish students which will be underwhelmingly prepared to compete in today’s harsh cut-throat world. This new education law eliminates the fruits and awards of hard labour on destroying academic excellence. It is only through hard work and sacrifice that we can achieve in life our goals and this law is a direct affront against this philosophy. It is vital to imbue in young generations the idea that sacrifice brings with it a high reward in life, besides achieving self-accomplishment. If you’re allowed to pass from one year to the next Scott free, what does this teach our kids about life?
I don’t want to prattle on unnecessarily any longer, so I will only repeat what I already published in previous articles:
“To lay the foundations of a great higher education over the next 50 years, it would be achieved by heavily investing in devoted teachers (read high wages), schools, academic institutions, and building modern facilities. By setting up lavish euro-billion endowments for top-performing universities in the image of reputed Ivy League institutions, enabling all types of tax incentives to attract capitalization, foster R&D, incentivize integrated business campus with budding small caps within universities (i.e. Malaga’s Technology Hub, which is a success story, having created thousands of highly qualified, well-paid jobs), by creating truly generous scholarships for bright students (not the paltry ones we have), so as to nurture a strong, modern, meritocratic secular education. This undertaking requires vision, commitment, and long-term planning.
Real statesmen are selfless and do, at all times, what is best for their people regardless of the unpopularity or electoral cost. They commit themselves to a long-term vision and focus on what really matters for the country, with their hearts set in the nation's future prosperity. Career politicians, by contrast, make decisions on the hoof based on short-term opinion polls and are self-serving.”
“You gotta study hard kid and become your own man.” – Norman Schaefer
Col. (U.S.A.F.), Dr. Norman E. Schaefer. (1924 - 2020). Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he graduated from high school just after the Japanese 'surprise' attack on Pearl Harbour. He earned his B.A. from Wagner College, S.l., and was assigned to an intelligence unit as a 2nd Lt. He completed his M.A. degree from Columbia University and his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1957. In 1978 he was promoted to Colonel, and in 1983, ordered to McGuire AFB, N.J. to take command of the 33rd Aeromedical Patient Staging Squadron, 514th Airlift Wing. He took his unit to Europe for Reforger (Return of Forces from Germany) exercises on three annual tours, as well as CONUS exercises. That training became invaluable during the First Gulf War. After Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Col. Schaefer closed his private practice, and flew numerous missions/short tours into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for logistical planning of Operation Desert Shield. Prior to the onset of major hostilities, he and his unit were mobilized to active duty and he took command of the 316th Air Division Aeromedical Staging Facility with HQ at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. That 1,000 man unit, comprised of Air Force, Army and Navy personnel from the US, Canada and Germany, treated and transported 5,000 injured and sick troops from the theater of operations. He was the only WWII veteran to serve overseas in the First Gulf War.
When Col. Schaefer retired from the Air Force in 1992, his military career spanned 49 years, the longest service record in the history of the U.S. Air Force. At that time, he was also the only one left in the Air Force with continuous service since World War II.
Dr. Schaefer also achieved notable success in his civilian medical career. He was among the first to be trained in microsurgery and introduced to New Jersey microsurgical procedures of the ear to correct hereditary deafness, receiving international acclaim. His efforts restored hearing and an improved quality of life to over 1,500 patients.
Col. (Dr.) Schaefer is married to the former Irene Scott. They have a daughter and two grandsons.
He also happens to be the man that introduced my parents, so if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be writing these lines today. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends. R.I.P.
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