In spite of the Declaration of Bologna and the intended idea of a ‘convergence’ into a common European Higher Education Area (EHEA) as stated in this declaration, the situation is still quite different for the countries of Southern Europe.
During the last few years, Spanish policy makers have been excellent at selling the idea of a ‘European convergence’ for all knowledge areas. Just when the agenda was closed and changes were not possible, the suppression of some degrees were subtly announced. As an illustrative (and very sad) example of this, the Bachelor in Music Education orientated to primary schools was completely eliminated in Spain after a short life span of about 18-20 years (depending on the university) and no Bachelor in Music Education for secondary schools has been considered until now (and is still not being considered in any political agenda for the next few years). The two possible paths to become a music teacher in this country are to complete a degree in musicology at a university or to pursue a degree as an instrumentalist, musicologist, composer, conductor, etc. at a College of Music. These two paths are plagued with shortcomings.
According to the Spanish Ministry of Education (2005), more than 90% of Spanish musicologists work as music teachers in secondary schools. From a European perspective, it is obvious that something wrong is happening in this country and that the teacher training system must be changed. Even the recent compulsory master’s for teaching at secondary school has only 24 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) orientated at Music Teaching Training (the rest are lectures related to general curriculum for secondary school, organisation of schools, legislation, etc.) and does not solve the problem. Some Spanish universities are using this precarious situation to implement two-semester master’s (60 ECTS) which offer a low amount of ECTS in MTT in a context that does not usually have anything to do with music education sensu stricto.
Obviously the term ‘European convergence’ has become an expression sous rature used in a Derridean sense and consequently devalued even before the new degrees post Declaration of Bologna have been totally implemented. Of course these words sous rature generate a semantic confusion which originates a sort of social chaos within the Academy over what Bologna really is and over what education and teacher training inside Europe should be. The hazard of its continued use is that it manages to transmit a wrong idea (about the situation of MTT in Europe) and therefore manages to preserve the rights of the already consolidated knowledge areas. At the same time it reduces the impact (and even the sense) of a legitimate struggle by those that are non-consolidated.
After the new bill for general education (LOMCE, 2013), music was removed from the compulsory curriculum in Spain. Thus we have moved from a situation of hope (in the last 10 years music had been proudly talked about as one of the ‘emerging subjects’, that is, about subjects with a future both in the field of teaching and researching supported by different institutions) to a situation of precarity. In fact, nowadays we could talk about ‘precarious subjects’ within the academic Spanish context; about subjects that wish to claim a better life inside a hostile system which does not consider any future for them in the frame of a controversial EHEA similar to that which consolidated subjects have.
We are living a contradiction in Spain between the important presence of choirs, bands and orchestras at universities (musical performances are requested throughout the year) and the negative pressure music education is suffering at the hands of both the government and the Academy itself. It seems that music education for musicians, students (including future music teachers), pupils of the general school system and common listeners must be pushed into the background; must be relegated indeed to the home; must be finally regarded as a pre-political sphere.
LOMCE, Organic Law 8/2013, 9 December on the Improvement of the Quality of Education Official State Bulletin, Spain, 10/12/2013 https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2013/12/10/pdfs/BOE-A-2013-12886.pdf
meNet Project. www.menet.info
Rodríguez-Quiles, J. A. (2014). Minister Werts Werte. Zum Ende der Musik in der spanischen Schule. Musikforum, 4/14, pp. 36-38.
Rodríguez-Quiles, J. A. (2016). Music Teacher Training: A precarious area within the Spanish university. British Journal of Music Educacion, doi:10.1017/S026505171600036X
1)Sous rature (writing under erasure) as used by Derrida has the impact of denouncing the metaphysics or “presence” that is supposed to exist behind a word. In our case, it could be written ‘European convergence’ to denounce the misuse of the word by policy makers.
Granada Declaration (insert link)