El Trabajo En Red Como Proyecto Educativo

Country Profile: Spain


46.65 million (2013)

Official language


People at risk of poverty or social exclusion


Total expenditure on education as % of GDP


Access to primary education – total net intake rate (NIR)


Total youth literacy rate (15 – 24 years)

Total: 99.7% (2011)
Male: 99.7%
Female: 99.7%

Adult literacy rate (15 years and over)

Total: 97.8%
Male: 98.5%
Female: 97.1%

Statistical sources
  • UNESCO Institute for Statistics
  • World Bank
  • Eurostat

Programme Overview

Programme TitleEl Trabajo En Red Como Proyecto Educativo (Networking as an Educational Project)
Implementing OrganizationCentro De Educación Permanente Polígono Sur De Desarrollo Comunitario Ceper (Polígono Sur Centre for Continuing Education and Community Development)
Language of InstructionSpanish, English and the mother tongue of various migrant groups
Programme Partners More than 35 partners are involved, including Roma unions and associations of Andalusia, employment centres, radio stations, old people’s groups and community associations, universities and student unions, local schools and libraries, teacher training centres, hospitals and mental health centres, and cultural and sports centres.
Date of Inception1980

Country Context and Background

Spain’s average scores for both literacy and numeracy are among the lowest in the OECD group of developed nations. Many young people leave school with poor skills in literacy and numeracy while large numbers of adults struggle with literacy. According to the OECD’s 2013 Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), only one in every 20 Spanish adults is proficient at the highest level of literacy (Level 4 or 5), and nearly three out of 10 adults perform at or below the lowest level of proficiency (Level 1) in both literacy and numeracy. Unemployment rates are high for those who do not complete secondary education in Spain, rising steeply from around 20% in 2007 to 60% in 2012. More than a quarter of young adults in Spain have not attained upper secondary education (UNESCO, 2014).

The challenge this poses for Spain’s education system has been deepened by large increases in its immigrant population between 1996 and 2009. Between 650,000 and 800,000 people of Roma origin now live in Spain, about a third of them in Andalusia. Most of them experience poverty and social exclusion, and have poor literacy skills. The government has implemented a number of educational initiatives aimed at Roma people since 2001, distributing learning materials, developing intercultural programmes, and funding job-training sessions (World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, 2005).

The district of Polígono Sur in Seville, Andalusia, popularly known as Tres Mil Viviendas (the Three-Thousand Dwellings), is home to 40,000 people from immigrant backgrounds (principally from Latin America, Eastern Europe, Morocco and Sub-Saharan Africa). Physical and social barriers isolate the district from the rest of the city and it is blighted by high levels of illiteracy, unemployment, vandalism and drug addiction.

Spain’s economic situation, high unemployment, and the fact that many Spanish youngsters leave school early, led the local adult education centre to propose a plan to promote education for life and vocational training. Its aim was to support social inclusion while promoting the integrated development of women’s empowerment and basic skills, prioritizing a learning-to-learn approach and the development of personal autonomy and initiative.

The origins of the programme can be traced back to 1980, when 17 education professionals began a project which aimed to teach inhabitants of the poorest districts of Seville how to read and write. The project led to the creation of local centres for adult education, which later became a part of the Red de Centros Públicos para la Educación de Personas Adultas (the State Centres for Adult Education Network), a key strand of the Andalusian regional government’s efforts to address poor literacy in the area. The programme relies not only on government support but also on the backing of neighbouring associations and the residents of Polígono Sur who are committed to education and its role in growing communities and promoting social inclusion. These supporters have recognised the truth of poet and educationalist José Martí’s motto: ‘Ser cultos, para ser libres’ (‘Be educated to be free’).


Programme Overview

The Polígono Sur Centre for Continuing Education has been working in the six most socially-excluded areas of Seville for more than 30 years. Its methodology involves coordinated teamwork in a network including agents working in Polígono Sur, and the creation of an educational plan for the area. Underpinning this approach is the belief that to guarantee continuous education in people’s lives, it is necessary to create specific training pathways in which training for life and training for employment are two connected strands. The following are the main pathways of the programme.

Work with Groups at Risk of Social Exclusion

This work includes:

Work with Young People who have Left the Education System

Taking into account current education legislation in Andalusia and the needs of young people in Polígono Sur, the following training initiatives have been created:

Education for Active Citizenship

This is achieved through programmes such as:

Education for Employment

This involves:


Education for Social and Economic Enterprise

The teaching staff developed this initiative following their participation in innovative education programmes organized by the Ministry of Education and the European Education and Training Programme’s Spanish agency. The following projects have been undertaken:


Aims and Objectives

Together, the various strands of work carried out by the programme aim to:

Programme Implementation

Structure and Processes

The work of the teachers at the Polígono Sur Centre for Continuing Education is overseen by the centre’s board and supported by teaching teams and commissions focused on the economy, community cohesion, schools and local activities.

The programme takes two years in total to complete (ten months per year). Currently, 12 professionals work two shifts a day – morning and evening from 8am to 9pm – to offer greater flexibility to the population of Polígono Sur.


As adult education is not compulsory, centres for continuing education have limited access to resources useful in assessing students’ needs. The centre, for example, does not have a professional advisor on remedial pedagogy and doesn’t receive support from the district’s Educational Guidance Team. To assess a student’s needs, the centre works closely with local community services and health centres, as well as other entities and institutions. The centre also conducts interviews with learners to determine their needs and the sort of support that might be appropriate. The centre caters for students with physical and mental disabilities, as well as offenders and ex-offenders, including people participating in the Home Office’s medio abierto programme of social reintegration during imprisonment. These people are supported in direct coordination with their institutions, through monthly or annual monitoring. The centre’s teaching staff actively seek support from colleagues in other sectors of the education community, including neighbourhood, sports and cultural associations, which work hand in hand with the school, and other key partner institutions.

The centre’s curriculum is based on two main methodological principles:

Adhering to these principles implies a commitment to:

Programme Content and Teaching Material

The centre’s education programmes are designed to be adapted to the needs of the communities they target and have a fixed annual duration.

The following regulations support the development of the adult education curriculum:

Each education plan is devised with these regulations and the characteristics of students in mind. The curriculum must also reflect the basic socio-educational development needs of the adult population of Polígono Sur.

The following subject areas have been developed as part of the curriculum:

The diversity of students who participate in the programme requires teaching materials which are responsive to the needs of both students and tutors and which can be applied in an ordinary classroom context. The programme designs its own teaching units and employs teaching methods based upon project work and intense interaction with students. Books by classic authors are used for the programme’s dialogue-based literacy circles.

Professionals from each of the teaching teams are involved in jointly designing and creating the teaching materials. For many years, teams from Seville’s teacher training centre (run by the Regional Government of Andalusia) have presented new, innovative materials which the centre has adapted to the needs of the different students. The centre also cooperates with Seville’s universities (the University of Seville and the University Pablo de Olavide) in projects for higher education students, creating opportunities for students and teaching staff to work together in developing new curriculum materials and methodologies.

Recruitment and Training of Facilitators

The programme’s facilitators are all paid public school teachers. Each facilitator is in charge of a group of around 20 learners. The school participates in the CEP, a public institution for teachers’ continuing professional development. Centre staff are advised by the public Teachers’ Training Centre in developing the contents of internal training.

The centre has its own annual training programme, with sessions for new teaching staff at the start of each year. During the sessions, teachers are made familiar with the area they will be working in, the services available, the institutions working in those areas and the functions of the different agencies they will encounter. The teachers of Polígono Sur must know each other, and be prepared to share experiences, difficulties, achievements and goals. The centre emphasises the following in its teacher training:

The Learners

The programme engages people of all ages and backgrounds from across Polígono Sur. The average number of students is 20 per class. Learners are recruited through active engagement with communities, campaigns to raise awareness of the programme and partnership work with social workers, local associations and correctional institutions.

Most learners, by virtue of their ethnic or cultural origins, come from underprivileged backgrounds. Most of the centre’s learners have some or all of the following characteristics:

The centre has been running for 33 years. In the beginning, it engaged about 100 learners each year. During the last eight years, thanks to the development of new educational programmes, the average number of learners has risen to 600 per year.

The centre also admits young people who did not complete secondary education, giving them an opportunity to gain the training and qualifications they need for employment. Immigrants and Roma people have a particular need for this sort of training.

Roughly speaking, all of the centre’s learners fall into one of these categories:


Assessment of Learners

Learners are assessed by continuous evaluation, consisting of an initial interview and an exam to assess the learner’s level of ability, and quarterly exams thereafter.

The achievements of the learners are recognised through a certificate of progress. This evidence of achievement is issued by the centre and is recognized by the regional government of Andalusia.

Use of ICTs

Most people living in Polígono Sur do not have either computers or access to the internet at home. There is a need, therefore, for more training in the use of digital skills. The centre teaches students basic computer skills and offers workshops in more advanced skills.

The centre includes the application of new technologies in the development of all of its educational plans. ICT activities offered at the centre include:

Monitoring and Evaluation of the Programme

There are three key phases to the evaluation process: diagnosis, continuous evaluation and analysis, and proposals for improvement.

First, the centre assesses the priorities for local communities, working closely with other social agencies in the area. An initial evaluation serves as a basis for determining the needs and expectations of the group. Following on from this, the programme is continuously evaluated, with student results, the teaching and learning process, and the community’s expectations and achievements all considered.

The centre’s evaluation team has developed various resources to evaluate the social and educational aspects of the programme in a participatory way. These generate proposals for improvement which are the starting point for the following academic year. A self-evaluation is conducted at the end of the programme. Improvement proposals for the following academic year are summarized in a report.

Programme Impact

The programme has had the following positive outcomes:

Work with Groups at Special Risk of Social Exclusion

The programme led to the creation of an educational meeting space and improved community cohesion in the region’s most disadvantaged area. It has also created stimulating cultural and leisure activities involving people in the community. The centre’s road-safety programme helped about 600 people to get their driving licences. The percentage of students passing their driving test is close to 95%.

Work with Young People who left the Education System

The programme has achieved the following:

Education for Active Citizenship

Outcomes of the music and literature talks included:

The theatre group had the following positive outcomes:

Education for Social and Economic Enterprise

The programme achieved the following:



The programme has met with a number of challenges. These include:

Lessons Learned

Given these challenges, the centre must see further and do more than simply offer educational opportunities to its communities. It must support social transformation. It is not enough to teach the people to read – the centre must create spaces for them to learn to think so they can become the main actors in their own learning and in effecting social change. The centre plans to broaden the adult education curriculum to create content which contributes to improving the lives of local people, for example by improving their physical and social environment and by empowering people to transform their neighbourhoods. With only 12 teachers, this is not something the centre can achieve alone, despite the growth in student numbers. The centre would like to develop its networks, working with different social agencies to create a common working plan for an employment and training pathway in the district. The fact that the programme is not a part of the compulsory education system means that its resources, including teaching staff, are limited, and creates a need for further networking and partnership work with other agencies in Polígono Sur.


The programme promotes itself in different ways. The centre carries out educational and social campaigns in the six areas by visiting other centres and institutions, distributing informational leaflets, developing information and awareness sessions, and utilizing the local media (press, TV, radio and public websites). Regional government supports the programme, making long-term sustainability more likely. The centre plans to develop new programmes in the coming years by investing grants awarded in 2014 by the Spanish Education Ministry and UNESCO.



Ana García Reina
Head Teacher
Bendición y Esperanza, No. 2 Sevilla 41013, Spain
Email: 41500384.edu (at) juntadeandalucia.es
Tel: +34 955656917
Website: http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/averroes/ceperpoligonosur/index/index.php
Blog: http://adultosur.blogspot.com.es/