Monday, 8 April 2013


TASK: Write 250-270 words on the following subject.  
You have 90 minutes.

This is a real exam answer which was singled out by the teacher:

The University. An exhausted institution?

I am writing to reflect on the worrying situation of the University as an institution in this country. Some weeks ago, I was reading through a survey from an American magazine that had made a ranking of the top universities worldwide and I learned that no Spanish Universities were even close to the top 100. I must admit that the information did not take me by surprise, for it is widely acknowledged that the quality of University in Spain leaves much to be desired.

As we all know, the international recession, together with a crisis of our own have forced most autonomous governments to increase enrolment fees dramatically. In some cases, fees have gone up by as much as 40% in a country that is facing a record high 26% unemployment rate. Never before has unemployment shown such figures and therefore, never before have the Spanish people had so little money in their pockets to afford paying for these rising university fees.

I strongly advise our autonomous governments to reconsider their position on this issue. Education is the future of any developed country worthy of the name and, by increasing fees and applying cutbacks, we are seriously jeopardising the viability of the Spanish University and of the educational system as a whole. Severe cutbacks in university budgets are bound to affect quality standards, as our best professors will be tempted to seek better career opportunities in other European or international universities, where they can get a fair salary and where research funding is respected. Should this happen, a whole generation of Spaniards would be condemned to an education of mediocrity and the Spanish University would become an exhausted institution, unable to form competent professionals for the future.

Consequently, I seriously doubt that we will have any university making it into the top 200 if the autonomous governments do not change their policies.

 Ángel Alonso Cabirta, C2. March, 2013 

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