“A EUROPEAN OBSERVATORY OF THE USE OF ICT-SUPPORTED LIFELONG LEARNING
BY SMES, MICRO-ENTERPRISES & THE SELF-EMPLOYED IN RURAL AREAS”
WP2: REVIEW OF POLICIES
& PRACTICES OF ICT-SUPPORTED
NATIONAL REPORT – SPAIN
I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................... 1
I.1. Useful definitions................................................................................... 2
II. GENERAL CONTEXT................................................................................... 4
II.1. Access to Internet and use of broadband ................................................ 7
III. POLITICAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR
CONTINUING EDUCATION AND TRAINING (CET) ............................ 14
III.1. Policy evolution................................................................................... 14
III.2. Legislation evolution ........................................................................... 15
IV. ORGANISATION OF ICT-SUPPORTED CONTINUING
EDUCATION AND TRAINING .................................................................. 19
IV.1. About provider scheme. ....................................................................... 19
IV.2. About financing scheme....................................................................... 20
IV.3. About content, formats and methods. ................................................... 21
IV.4. About participants................................................................................ 23
V. MECHANISMS SUPPORTING AND PROMOTING ICT-
BASED LEARNING. .................................................................................... 25
VI. GOOD POLICIES EXAMPLES .................................................................. 30
VII. CONCLUSIONS ........................................................................................... 34
VII.1. Analysis of the state of the matter. ....................................................... 34
VII.2. Analysis of the state of the government actions. ................................... 35
VII.3. Future outlook. .................................................................................... 35
VIII. REFERENCES.............................................................................................. 36
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: COUNTRY REPORT – SPAIN
The E-learning appeared in Spain in 1999 approximately, helped by subsidies from
European Union. This is an emergent and innovative market mainly composed by about
160 providers all around Spanish territory.
The e-learning training is currently used by 0,2% of the SME’ s and 7,2% of another
companies. Main reasons of this situation are the lack of popularity about the ICT
training, the lack of utility for the companies and the lack of yield obtained by these
In Spain only the 20% of the national territory is equipped with the broadband (ADSL).
70% of the municipalities don’t have any broadband access and there are also many
provinces which population doesn’t have access into this kind of services.
Nowadays, the percentage of houses with access to PC is quite poor, only 48%. The
situation on Internet access isn’t more encouraging, only 30% of the houses, and only
12% them approximately with broadband connexion
Deserve special mention that urban areas are quite more developed than rural ones in
the field of ICT. This situation is done due to the lack of infrastructure in the rural areas,
by the absence of economic yield for the telecommunication companies and also due to
the lack of training in these kind of issues. One of the established measures to get
shorter this situation have been the creation of telecottages
On the other hand, when we are talking about legal framework and policies, deserves
special mention that there is a strong protectionist attitude from the Ministry of
Education in their competences and a current national system characterised by its formal
nature. This situation generates a strong conflict in the validation and certification of the
different informal and non formal training courses affecting principally rural areas.
Anyway there have been performed some kind of actions to support and promote the
ICT based learning. The Forintel and the Rural internet programs are some of them.
There are also some institutions that support the ICt supported learning like Fundación
Tripartita, the INEM, AETIC, etc.
Regarding to the organisation of Ict –supported continuing education and training
highlight that there has been a significant grown in the number of providers during last
two years. The most common subjects offered in the courses are the ones connected to:
• Interpersonal skills
• Comercial management.
Also emphasize that the most common format of the courses is the on line one, using
the CD as supporting tool.
About participants, deserve a special mention that E-learning market in Spain is
nowadays in expansion, and participants are at the moment very inexpert. The main
clients of this sector are mainly financial companies with around 100 employees.
The phenomenon of the globalization and the appearance of the new technologies of
the information and the communication (in ahead, ICT) define a new scene for the rural
development and its structure of relations with urban areas.
The modification of the traditional systems of production and commercialization imply
new possibilities of occupation. For the traditional sectors of the rural territories new
opportunities are possible as:
• Improvement of the quality and nourishing security, for example through the
possibilities in the field of traceability of food.
• Applications in the field of information, communication and formation.
• Transparency and effectiveness of the agrarian markets.
• Use of electronics’ tools for trade (e-business).
However, this process is not unidirectional, given the possibilities of increase of the
digital breach as much as world-wide, communitarian and national level.
In Spain the formation programs in the companies are also generalizing more and more.
In accordance with the report “The Habitual Applications of the e-Learning in Spain",
published by Soluziona in May of 2002, 100% of the companies who participated in the
study considered important the professional development of their employees in a
continuous way that foments the flexibility and the adaptation to those necessities of the
company that are in constant change. All the companies of the sample, taken by
Soluziona, provide their employees some type of continuing formation and 71% of
those companies even elaborate an annual plan of formation.
This formation need is not focused in a specific collective inside the company, but on
the contrary 71% of the companies aim the formation to all the employees
independently of their category and of their departmental location. This factor illustrates
the trend to extend the formation out of the academic environment as well as the
lifelong learning. E-learning is supposed to reply this need of continuous training.
For all these reasons it is needed a new flexible formation model that provides the
possibility of being followed “in any place" (anywhere), “at any hour" (anytime) and
“for everybody" (anyone).
Internet is presented like a logical answer to cover education and formation new
The objective of this report is to give an overview of policy and practices for ICT-
supported continuing education and training (CET) in the context of lifelong learning in
Spain. The areas of particular interest are those of learning available to employed and
unemployed people, with emphasis on employees of SMEs, micro-enterprises and the
self-employed in rural areas.
I. 1.- Useful Definitions:
Before focusing on the national situation towards E-learning, it’s essential to define the
characteristics of Spanish rural areas.
Without entering in academic debates, the meaning of “rurality” in Spain (and so in the
EU) has to do with:
• Low population density in comparison with the national stocking.
• And with a remarkable presence of an agrarian activity, this dominant many times,
but not unavoidably, neither in all the cases.
When we talk about “rurality”, we are actually speaking about territory. The rural
concept is an integral part of the territorial concept.
From a technical point of view a “rural index” is defined like those areas whose
population's density is below 100 inhabitants/km2, but such a rudimentary definition,
evidently, doesn't define anything.
What is clear it is that the opposite of rural is urban. In Spain the “urban system” rules,
and so the cities of more than 50.000 inhabitants in Spain occupy 5% of the territory
and they welcome 70% of the global population.
It is true that a special sensibility exists about the rural world inside the urban mentality.
The great risk of “land set-aside” = desertification of big rural spaces is alerting to the
society in general and because of the problems that generate the big urban
concentrations we are starting to see rural life as something that is worthwhile to
maintain. And several “soft policies” are being generated in support of rural
development. Rural Development Programs promoted by European Union and
integrated in the general policy of the member states are contributing, somehow, to
revitalize the human and social activity (of course also the economic one) in rural areas.
We are talking about programs like LEADER I (1992-1995), LEADER II and PRODER
I (1995-2000) and LEADER PLUS and PRODER II (2000-2006) and now FEADER
for 2007-2013, we hope.
Two definitions are available. They are summarised in the following board:
Figure number 1: Rurality Definition.
EUROSTAT MODEL OECD MODEL
Poorly populated municipality Rural Municipality
(rural) =< 100 inhabitants/km² =< 150 inhabitants/km²
Densely populated areas Region Essentially Urban
Group of contiguous municipalities
Density> 500 inhabitants/Km² (Sum of the Rural Municipalities Population/ Sum
Population > 50,000 of The population of the Region)*100=<15
Representative Rural Region
Group of contiguous municipalities
(Sum of the Rural Municipalities Population/ Sum
Density> 100 inhabitants/Km²>
of The population of the Region)*100
Population > 50,000
>= 15 or <=50
or contiguous to a dense area
Poorly populated areas
Region Essentially Rural
Group of contiguous municipalities
Density> 100 inhabitants/Km²
(Sum of the Rural Municipalities Population/ Sum
Surface > 100 Km² to incorporate it
of The population of the Region)*100= >50
in a contiguous populated area
Primary Territorial Unit: Municipality Primary Territorial Unit: Municipality
Secondary Territorial Unit: Not cited Secondary Territorial Unit: County
To develop this report, we will choose the OECD definition as the basic one. OCED
defines rural areas in Spain as the aggregates of population under 2000 inhabitants,
the semi rural areas the ones positioned between 2001 and 10000 inhabitants and the
urban areas the ones which include more than 10000 inhabitants.
Next step to understand all what is going to be explained in this report is trying to find a
definition of SME’S and micro enterprises, from the Spanish point of view.
Figure number 2: Enterprises classification
Nº of employees Balance sheet Turnover
Micro enterprises Less than 10 Less than 2 mill/€. Less than 2 mill/€.
Between2 and 10 Between2 and 10
Small enterprises Between 10 and 49
More than 10 and less More than 10 and less
Medium Enterprises Between 50 and 249
than 43 mill/€. than 50 mill/€.
Big enterprises More than 249 More than 43 mill/€. More than 50 mill/€.
II.- GENERAL CONTEXT
The Spanish firms are essentially SMEs. More than 90% of these firms have between 0
and 9 employees and generate, from the economic point of view, more than 55% of
the Brut Additive Value of the Spanish economy.
Figure number 3: Enterprises distribution depending on the employees number
De 1 a 2 asalariados
De 3 a 5 asalariados
De 6 a 9 asalariados
De 10 a 19 asalariados
De 20 a 49 asalariados
De 50 a 99 asalariados
De 100 a 199 asalariados
De 200 a 499 asalariados
De 500 a 999 asalariados
De 1000 a 4999 asalariados
De 5000 ó más asalariados
Figure number 4: Enterprises distribution depending on the size
From a social point of view, the SMEs employ more than 75% of the Spanish labour
It’s important to release how the Spanish State is divided, as the state territory is divided
in 17 “autonomous regions”, which means a large administrative division in Spain, with
its own Parliament and a number of devolved powers.
At the same time, each “autonomous region” is itself divided in several provinces.
By knowing this factor it could be easily understood the next graphic which shows the
situation from the regions point of view:
Figure number 5: Distribution of amount of enterprises in each Autonomous Region
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000
At this region level, we can highlight that Madrid, Cataluña and Comunidad Valenciana
are the ones with bigger number of enterprises.
Also we find useful to show the Spanish situation about number of enterprises with
employees and without employees (DIRCE 2003).
Figure number 6: Enterprises with and without employees
Total enterprises 2.813.159 %
Enterprises with employees 1.459.938 51,9%
Enterprises without employees 1.353.221 48,1%
This means that more than 50% of the enterprises consist on autonomous workers.
Now that we understand the Spanish entrepreneurship situation, we are ready to analyse
if SME’s and micro enterprises are ready for ICT.
There is a very big gap concerning the ICT between the SMEs and the other enterprises:
• 78% of the SMEs are equipped of PCs,
• 61% of them have an internet access and
• Only 36% are using the broadband technology as Internet access.
In comparison, 95% of the other enterprises are equipped of PCs, 81% have an Internet
access and 62% are using the broadband technology as Internet access.
Figure number 7: Use of the Internet/Broadband/own website in the frame of Spanish enterprises
250 or more
50 to 249 % Enterprises using internet
% Enterprises using broadband
88,79 % Enterprises that have their ow n
10 to 49 employees 82,85 w ebsite
0 20 40 60 80 100 120
About the E-learning, this modality appeared in 1999 in Spain, helped by the
subventions of the European Social Funds. It s an emergent and innovative market
composed of only 161 providers for all the Spanish territory. The E- learning formation
is currently used by 0,2% of the SMEs and 7,2% of the other companies (E-Learning
Associations Providers, 2005).
These facts can be explained by the following points:
1. The lack of popularity, of information and of formation of the ICT.
2. The lack of utility for the companies equipped of the broadband and able to receive
and use this technology.
3. The important role of the ICT for the competitiveness and for the gain of yield.
This report will present the Spanish situation of the ICT development. In this sense, it’s
important to remark the function of the different European initiatives in the process, and
especially the role played by the LEADER groups in the development of the new
technologies in the rural areas.
LEADER + (2000-2006) mantiene su función de laboratorio para el descubrimiento y
experimentación de nuevos enfoques de desarrollo integrados y sostenibles que influyan
en la política de desarrollo rural de la Unión Europea.
LEADER I (1991-1994) marked the beginning of rural development policy new
conception based on a territorial focus. It had a very positive answer on the part of the
private sector in contribution to the investment. The Initiative had in Spain a total of 52
Groups of Local Action (GAL), corresponding to 53 programs.
LEADER II (1994-1999) diffused LEADER I focus, granting particular importance to
the innovative character of the projects. LEADER II pursued, among other aspects, to
foment innovative activities carried out by the local agents in all the sectors of the
activity in the rural world. A total of 133 programs were hold.
LEADER + (2000-2006) maintains its laboratory function for the discovery and
experimentation of new integrated development focuses and sustainable that influence
in UE rural development policy.
II.1.- Access to Internet and use of broadband
According to the data facilitated by the Survey of 2004 of the National Institute of
Statistic on equipment and use of the technologies of the information in the Spanish
homes, 48% of the homes has some computer type, the 76´8% at least a cellular phone,
30´8% have an access to Internet and a 12´8 of housings get a connection to broadband.
However, big differences related with the size of the municipality and the territories
exist, pointing out the unequal penetration degree in the rural and urban areas.
Figure number 8: The ICT endowment in housing per habitat size, 2004 (%)
Housings connection to Housings Housings
Total with some
with internet wide band with fixed with mobile
Housings type of
access (ADSL, phone phone
RDSI, Net of
Total Housings 1,.473.651 7.087.997 4.544.751 2.029.652 13.269.043 11.326.912
>100.000 Inhab. and
6.418.111 54,03 36,60 18,51 93,00 80,41
From 50.000 to
1.225.682 51,82 33,52 16,20 87,27 82,08,24
From 20.000 to
2.029.665 47,49 29,97 12,40 86,77 98,77
From 10.000 to
1.631.832 46,36 28,01 11,26 86,52 77,70
Less than 10.000 hab. 3.426.260 36,90 20,99 6,06 88,29 66,71
Source: Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio.
On the other hand, as underlines the Centre of sociological Investigations (CIS), they
are remarkable differences of knowledge and handling of the ICT. Obviously, this
supposes serious limitations for the ICT in terms of potential development: it’s an
obstacle to the democratisation of the e-learning tools in the rural areas.
Municipalities and population without ADSL
In Spain only 20% of the national territory is equipped with the broadband (ADSL)
70% of the municipalities don’t have any broadband and in some provinces half of the
population doesn’t have access to these services.
Figure number 9: Spanish condition with regard to Broadband (ADSL) access
Number of Population Percentage of Percentage
Autonomous Number of
Inhabitants municipalities without municipalities of affected
without ADSL ADSL without ADSL population
Andalucía 7.478.432 770 495 83.749 64,3 1,1
Aragón 1.217.514 730 564 102.802 77,3 8,4
Asturias 1.073.971 78 68 29.698 87,2 2,8
Baleares 916.968 67 14 46.971 20,9 5,1
C. Valenciana 4.326.708 5541 249 199.103 46,0 4,6
Canarias 1.843.755 87 43 73.078 49,4 4,0
Cantabria 542.275 102 77 23.674 75,5 4,4
Castilla y León 2.480.669 2.248 2.057 613.168 91,5 24,7
1.781.661 919 718 281.114 78,1 15,8
Cataluña 6.506.440 946 349 65.889 36,9 1,0
Extremadura 1.073.050 383 274 275.390 71,5 25,7
Galicia 2.737.270 315 291 397.159 92,4 14,5
La Rioja 281.614 174 113 19.054 64,9 6,8
Madrid 5.527.152 179 30 62.224 16,8 1,1
Murcia 1.226.993 45 24 435 53,3 0,0
Navarra 569.628 272 178 15.778 65,4 2,8
País Vasco 2.108.281 250 136 41.278 54,4 2,0
Total Spain 41.837.517 8.108 5.681 2.384.411 70,1 5,7
Moreover, the lack of infrastructure in the rural areas by the absence of economic yield
for the companies of telecommunications is an important fact to consider.
Figure number 10: ADSL (broadband) coverage at the end of 2003
To understand this map (figure number 10), we must notice that:
• Blue areas describe the provinces with broadband. So provinces in steel blue colour
represent the ones with better access to broadband and as the blue colour gets darker
it shows the areas with less access to it.
• The orange graphics show the population affected by the broadband access.
Figure number 11: Use and internet knowledge according to households’ size (%).
Total Size of population's nucleus
Total 2.001- 10.001- 50.001- 100.001- 400.001-
10.000 50.000 100.000 400.000 1.000.000
Knowledge and use 33,3 15,5 21,0 29,4 38,3 42,0 37,0 45,8
Knowledge but no
53,1 60,5 56,9 56,3 57,3 47,6 50,9 48,1
No knowledge 13,6 24,0 22,0 13,3 10,4 10,4 11,5 6,1
NC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 2.489 200 404 588 240 595 165 297
Figure number 12: ADSL and Satellite broadband availability in the Spanish municipalities
at the end of 2004.
To understand this map (figure number 12), again we must notice that:
• Green areas describe the provinces with broadband. So provinces in clear green
colour represent the ones with better access to broadband and as the green colour
gets darker it shows the areas with less access to it.
• The orange graphics show the population affected by the broadband access.
As a conclusion, we can see next figure number 13, to understand the main reason that
explains why in rural areas there’s a lack of use of ICT:
Figure number 13: Broadband barriers in rural areas
Hardly ever use Don´t need high Its to expensive Don´t have Thinking to buy it Don´t know this
internet velocity coverage service
Once in Spain the first step of approaching internet access to the population was
achieved, then it came another step. Big part of the population in rural areas weren’t
trained in ICT use. That is why Telecottages/ Telecenters started.
Figure number 14: Telecenters with a satellite Broadband access
County Programmed Deployed at 29-11-2004
Huesca 144 113
Teruel 141 122
Badajoz 102 101
Las Palmas 81 35
S/C de Tenerife 80 8
Valencia 74 0
Valladolid 73 66
Orense 69 25
Asturias 64 28
Castellón 60 10
Almería 56 40
Soria 53 34
León 48 0
Zamora 48 16
Cantabria 48 10
Murcia 45 9
Jaén 44 13
Palencia 42 40
Cadiz 40 27
Lugo 40 23
Burgos 31 12
Salamanca 30 0
Granada 27 0
Pontevedra 20 10
Alicante 17 15
Segovia 16 9
Madrid 1 1
Total 1.494 767
Source: Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio.
The national installation program of the Telecenter is still running in Spain. At the end
of November of 2004, only the half of these structures is deployed and able to provide
an access to the ICT through the satellite wide band technology. (Ministry of Industry,
Tourism and Commerce, 2005)
Moreover, according to the map of the ADSL and Satellite broadband availability in the
Spanish municipalities at the end of 2004, we can observe that the ICT technology is
implemented in the half north part of the country, especially in the regions of Madrid,
Barcelona and Valencia which are the more important cities of Spain in terms of
population and influence.
On the other hand, we can observe that the half south of the territory, which is very
rural, offers a poorly or inexistent ADSL and Satellite availability.
Finally, as a mater of fact, over 60% of the households living in the rural areas
declare having knowledge in Internet but no use of this technology (Ministry of
Industry, Tourism and Commerce, 2005).
III.- POLITICAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR CONTINUING
EDUCATION AND TRAINING (CET)
III. 1.- Policy Evolution :
• Among the years 1992-94, Telefónica (the only alternative as telecommunication
company in Spain), completing their obligation of giving universal service, decided
to install these telephones of cellular technology in the rural areas where it was not
profitable to spread cables. The problem of these lines was that they are only good to
speak, but not to get connected to the Internet.
Half of the lines TRAC (Rural Telephony of Cellular Access) should have been
substituted more than a year before, but the process has been going on due to
technological problems, what has caused great uneasiness among the affected
populations. Several towns have opted to look for solutions themselves, being
connected to Internet by satellite without waiting for TRAC substitute, because some
local governments already consider the connection to Internet like a municipal basic
service, as the water or the public illumination.
• At the beginning of 2001, the Science and Technology Ministry assured that during
that year Internet would arrive to all the rural areas in Spain. That included to change
the lines of Rural Telephony of Cellular Access (TRAC) that condemn to more than
260.000 homes, around a million inhabitants, to a technological ostracism, because
they impede the access to the Net.
• Law of Services of the Society of the Information and of Electronic Trade:
The new Law of Services of the Society of the Information and of Electronic Trade
(LSSICE), in force from July of 2002, it finally establishes that Internet is an
universal service the same as the fixed telephony, forcing to the Administration, and
to Telefónica like dominant operator, to solve the TRAC problem in a short term of
• At the beginning of year, the Science and Technology Ministry approved the
migration plan of the lines of rural telephony to another technology that allowed the
access to Internet. With an investment of 475 million Euros, contributed partly by the
funds FEDER of the EU, the Government would develop the proposal '
multitechnologic' of Telefónica that established new terms and it fixes the
technologies and the awarded companies for the substitution plan.
• To develop the Society of the Information in Spain and to contribute to the
convergence with Europe, the council of Ministers has impelled the creation of the
Institute of the Technologies of the Communication (INTECO).
INTECO has to develop projects in the environment of the technology of the
communication (ICT) and to promote the regional development in a project with
global vocation. The center will base its performance on the applied investigation,
the benefit of services and the formation, and it will become a national center of
reference as regards access to the society of the information.
III. 2.- Legislation Evolution
Law on Qualifications and Vocational Training: The National System on
Qualification and Vocational Training
The Law on Qualifications and VT has as objective the ordination of an integral system
of vocational training, qualifications and accreditation that responds with effectiveness
and transparency to the social and economic demands through the diverse training
modalities as well as the formation offer sustained with public funds, will favour the
long life learning, in a flexible way to the different expectations and personal situations.
To this purpose the programmed formative actions will be guided and developed in the
mark of the National System of Qualifications and Vocational Training, in coordination
with the active policies of employment and of development of the free circulation of the
Objectives of the Law on Qualifications and Vocational Training
• Facilitate the integration in the different certification ways and accreditation of the
competences and the professional qualifications.
• To impulse the long life training formation
• Integrate the different formative offers.
• Coordinate the recognition and the accreditation of the professional qualifications.
Elements of the National System of Qualifications and Vocational Training
• The National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications that will include the
content of the professional formation associated to each qualification and will have a
• A Procedure of recognition, evaluation, accreditation and registration of the
professional qualifications (see ERA pilot project)
• The information and orientation as regards professional formation and
• The evaluation and improvement of the quality of the National System of
Qualifications and Professional Formation that it provides the opportune information
on the operation of this and have more than enough their adaptation to the needs
formative singular and those of the productive system.
The State General Administration is the main responsible of the regulation and
coordination of the National System, always considering the participation of regional
governments and social agents. This work is developed by:
• The General Council on Vocational Training: it’s the natural place for the
participation of social actors and public administration and works in the advice to the
• National Institute on Qualifications: it has technical nature and supports the
General Council activities. Its main responsibility is to design the National Catalogue
on Professional Qualifications.
The Law on Qualifications and Vocational Training opens the way to set a system for a
process of identification, evaluation, accreditation and register of professional
How is it developed the National System of Qualifications and Vocational Training?
The development of the National System of Qualifications and Vocational Training will
be promoted the necessary collaboration of:
• The companies with the public Administrations.
• Chamber of Commerce.
• Training institutions.
To identify and to modernize the qualification needs, as well as it stops their definition
and that of the required formation, procedures of collaboration will settle down and it
consults with the different productive sectors and with the social speakers. The training
will favour the realization of the students' professional practices in companies and other
entities. These practices won't have labour character.
Royal Decree 1128/ 2003 of 5/september/2003
It regulates the National Catalogue of Vocational Qualifications. As we see, the
National Catalogue is the main reference in the evaluation and accreditation of the
professional competences acquired through the professional experience or non-formal
Keeping in mind the approaches of the European Union, equally the permanent bring up
to date of the catalogue, previous consultation to the General Council of the Vocational
Training, in order to attend the requirements of the productive system.
Royal Decree 295/2004 of 20 February/2004
This Decree establishes the first set of professional qualifications to be included in the
catalogue. Actually is not active.
The main planning and implementation actor is the Ministry of Education and Culture,
but there are specific ministries, as the Ministry of Work and Social Affairs, Industry,
Agriculture, etc, that develop in parallel formal vocational education. There are also the
Autonomic Communities as providers of non-formal and informal learning through
their own employer’s organisation.
Figure number 15: Vocations learning system.
VOCATIONAL LEARNING SYSTEM
Subsystem Of Formal Subsystem Of Occupational Subsystem Of Continuous
Vocational Training Vocational Training Vocational Training
• Ministry Of Education And Management:
• Ministry Of Education And
Culture • Social Actors
• Autonomous Communities • Public Administration
• Autonomous Communities
There’s a common conflict in the public sector, signal by the syndicates, about an
increasing number of courses without academic recognition, impelled by the public
administration, developing parallel networks without coordination. For example, in
Valencia you can find all these providers:
• Training Centres from the Autonomous government (SERVEF)
• Training Centres from the National Government (INEM)
• Tourist Development Centres from Autonomous Government (AVT)
• Technological Institutes for SMEs (IMPIVA)
• Agro Experimental Laboratories from the Autonomous Government
• Independent Agrarian Schools from Regional Government (Diputación de Valencia)
• Workshop Schools and Houses of occupation from the Autonomous government
• We can summarize the situation in Spain as a strong protectionist attitude by the
Ministry of Education in their competences and an educational national system very
formal. In this sense, we can find continuous and occupational training subsystems,
divided in two parallel and not connected models. The first, linked with the Ministry
of Work and Social Affairs (not active actually) and the second from Ministry of
Education and Science (MEC) (since 2004, access exams were necessary before this
This situation creates a strong conflict in validation and certification of the different
and abundant informal and non formal training programmes, affecting the potential
of the ICT as a tool for the rural SMEs.
• According to the last report of the European Commission on the normative and the
European markets of electronic communications, the perspective regarding the
innovation and the investment inside the States members is positive.
In the case of Spain, the Responsible person in the European Commission declared
that the “penetration of broadband Internet is not brilliant” and that in the position as
old member of the European Union, “it could have done it better.”
• As we tried to explain among all this part of the report there is still a big part of the
territory with real difficulty to access to the Internet. This doesn’t obviously help.
• In other hand, due to the Spanish State organization and due to the fact that both
central government and autonomous government have the faculty to decide about
this matter, there is a big amount of actors developing vocational learning system.
IV.- ORGANISATION OF ICT-SUPPORTED CONTINUING EDUCATION
IV. 1.- About Provider Scheme
The situation of the E- Learning suppliers in Spain shows a notable increment during
the last two years.
The E-Learning industry still responds to the characteristics of a market very young:
high fragmentation and low transparency.
The great majority of the companies of the industry is in private hands and no
competitor of the E-Learning market still overcomes 5% of the quota of market (Source:
“E-learning Future”- by e-leusis.net).
These high levels of fragmentation together with the long development cycles and other
deficiencies, make the eLearning market to be prepared to begin with the coalitions and
Although they can be distinguished more than 50 different segments inside the industry,
the most important segments are three: technology, contents and services.
Furthermore, several organisms provide e learning formations in Spain:
• National Institute of Public Administrations
• Public Administrations Institute of Andalusia
• Public Administrations Institute of Aragon
• Public Administrations Institute of Canaries
• Public Administrations Institute of Catalonia
• Gallegos Public Administration School (EGAP)
• Public Administration School of the region of Murcia
• Navarre Public Administrations Institute
• Basque Public Administrations Institute (IVAP)
• European Public Administrations Institute (IEAP)
• Public Administrations National Institute of Mexico
• Public Administration School of La Junta de Extremadura (EGAP)
• RedIris. E-learning national expert list
• Edudist. E-learning national educative expert list.
• Distance-educator. E-learning national list experts.
IV.2.- About Financing Scheme
According to a study of RED.ES, the result of the surveys carried out with SME'S, both
in rural and urban areas, regarding the interest in the help or grants, is the following
They are interested in grants for:
• 53,2% Grants to the purchase and software development
• 61,6% Grants to the acquisition of equipment
• 61,2% Grants to the technical attendance
• 60% Grants for advice in new technologies
• 64% Grants for formation courses
The real scheme for the institutional grants that we can find in Spain, for ICT in rural
• The European Social Fund participates in the co financing of the Initiatives of
Formation, through the Several Regions Operative Programs Performance as
regards Continuous Formation and the Managerial Initiative of Reinforcement which
are contemplated in the Community Mark of Support for Spain for the period 2000-
• Industry, tourism and trade Ministry: It is only responsible for the area of the
• The Law of General Budgets of the State assigns every year the resources
dedicated to the Continuous Formation through the Budgets of the Public Service
of State Employment. These resources come from the collection of the Quota of
Professional Formation that carries out the Social Security.
• Ministry of Science and Technology:
The Rural Internet Program is developed by Ministry of Science and Technology
based in the creation of public Internet access points for the population
Autonomous Region Level:
• The National Institute of Employment (INEM) is an administrative autonomous
Organism, linked to the Ministry of Labour. It has concrete objectives in the worker's
At this level, we can find small grants in order to improve the Internet access, but not
IV.3.- About Content, Formats and Methods
By watching next figure, we will have a better idea about which are the contents that are
used in online learning in comparison with “offline learning” (source: Soluziona 2002).
Figure number 16: Contents Demand
All the ones above
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
As a conclusion, we can realize that nowadays the contents demand is relative to
commercial aspects. By reading the following figure (number 17), we can also interpret
the same conclusion.
Figure number 17: Subjects offered in the courses
Furthermore, talking about the format of the courses, we find:
1. On line training: The access to the formative contents is through internet.. The CD-
ROM is usually used as support material.
2. Software rent - ASP (Application Service Provider). The difference is that the
contents are usually implanted in the Intranet (limited time).
3. Made- to- measure course: It demands a previous work of consultancy to detect
what is exactly needed and to adjust the course to these necessities.
IV.4.- About Participants
In first place it should be mentioned that the E- Learning market in Spain is still in
expansion phase and its clientele is, at the moment, very inexpert. The main clients of
these E- Learning services are in their majority companies of the financial sector and of
the ICT (33%) and in most of the cases these companies have a size of more than 100
Figure number 18: Participants classification
Educational and training institutions
9% Public administration
Other kind of enterprises
Associations and Chambers of commerce
Financial and ITC enterprises
In second place are situated the entrepreneurship associations and the Chamber of
Commerce (31%) and in third place, the individuals. The entities that less formation
online demand are the public administrations and the formation and education
institutions. (Reports from N-economía).
About the Companies: Although they are the best potential clients, we insist in the
factors that will impede a better increase of the E- Learning market, as:
• At the moment the modality of attending formation continues being leader in the
Spanish companies. 96% of the formation offered by the companies is attending
modality. The reasons for which the companies have not still opted for the online
formation can be summarized in the following way:
1. The culture of the company: the tradition and the customs in the development of
2. Computer difficulties: E- Learning tools are not even consolidated and they
don't cover all the requirements.
3. The companies still don't have their own formation platform and they don’t want
to appeal at third people.
4. Not all the employees have access to Internet .
• The companies that more interest have demonstrated are the big companies (more
than 100 employees). This helps to understand that companies un rural areas are not
a big percentage of E-learning clients in Spain.
• The E- Learning contents demand of the companies is not still very diversified, and it
is focused to: interpersonal skills, languages and commercial management. The
attending formation is, on the contrary, very diversified.
V.- MECHANISMS SUPPORTING AND PROMOTING ICT-BASED
The Spanish government, through the Ministry of Science and Technology, is involved
in supporting and promoting ICT-based learning. The FORINTEL program was
created to stimulate, facilitate and certify at the national level the access to the digital
technology for the SMEs.
• Forintel (http://www.forintel.es)
The Program of Formation in Telecommunications FORINTEL of the Ministry of
Science and Technology is framed in the Operative Program of Managerial Initiative
and Continuous Formation of the European Social Fund.
This action is summed up in the organization of present formative actions, at distance
(teleformation) or mixed, concerning materials related with the Advanced Services of
Telecommunications and the technologies that provide them support.
The purpose of these subventions is to support the realization of integral projects of
general formation that transform the small and medium enterprises to digital SMEs.
The formative projects will outline in a progressive way the use of computer tools in the
processes that contribute to add value to the company and they contemplate the required
formation of the workers involved in each one of them.
Figure number 19: Number of employees who have been agreed to be trained between 2001 & 2005
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
According to the graph, the numbers of workers agree to be formed to the NTIC
technology has raised of 1100% between 2001 and 2005.
Others Experiences in Spain
In this section information is picked up it has more than enough formation experiences
in the national environment, as well as information of help and grants to the formation
or other initiatives related by Autonomous Communities that supplement and they
develop the one carried out by the National Organisms and Europeans Initiatives.
• The Rural Internet Program
The Rural Internet Program is developed by Ministry of Science and Technology based
in the creation of public Internet access points for the population.
As we have showed, the problem of the geographical covering in the access of
broadband to the net can increase the discrimination of the rural areas. In our country
only 20% of the national territory has broadband (ADSL). That means that 70% of the
municipalities doesn't have any possibility of access to Internet (broadband), and in
some counties half of the population doesn't have access to these services. The lack of
infrastructure is added in the rural areas by the absence of economic profitability to the
telecommunications services operators.
Rural Internet (which is a program coincident with the line sketched in the plan of
action e-Europe 2005, approved by the European Commission in Seville on June
2002), focused to endow the rural municipalities with: a) public access to Internet
centres (“telecentres or telecottages”) with broadband connections, b) wireless nets in
local areas and c) multimedia equipment. At the same time, it was wanted to facilitate
the integration of the technology in the daily life of the citizens of these rural areas. The
beneficiaries of the program were the municipalities that are outside of the area covered
by conventional technologies of broadband (ADSL or cable)
The regional levels are those in charge of presenting the projects. The projects will be
valued according to several approaches like the population of the municipality, their
rural character, the geographical situation, the weight of the primary sector and the
valuation of the services offered by the municipalities and delegations. The investment
is superior to 30 Millions Euros in the period 2002-2005, with contributions of the
following public entities: Red.es, MAP (Public Administration Ministry), Science and
Technology Ministry and Local Corporations.
The performances included in the program are various, and among them, the
installation in each municipality beneficiary of public broadband access to Internet
point, via satellite, endowing it with infrastructures of internal nets of local area and
with the appropriate equipment and basic computer applications to facilitate the
gratuitous connection to the Internet for the users.
It will also be carried out the support and the good maintenance of the teams and
services during three years. A portal of services will also be developed for the rural
populations. The elaboration, design, maintenance, bring up to date and lodging the
municipalities web pages, next to the formation and promotion in technologies of the
information will be others of the key performances of the program.
On the regional level, counties are developing their own plan of promotion of the ICT.
As an example, the PETIC (Strategic Plan for the Consolidation of the Technology
Society and the Knowledge) set up by the Council of the county of Valencia can be
cited. However, this plan is general and this plan doesn't include actions specifically
• Tripartite Foundation for the Formation in the Employment.
The Tripartite Foundation for the Formation in the Employment is the state entity in
charge of impelling and coordinating the execution of the public policies as regards
Professional Formation, in the fields of the environment, of the employment and the
labour relationships, developing its attributions in the mark of the Law 50/2002 of
December the 26th of Fundaciones
It is linked with the participation and administration organs that compose the
organizational structure of the subsystem of Continuous Formation, gathered with the
State Commission of Continuous Formation.
The Law of General Budgets of the State assigns every year the resources dedicated
to the Continuous Formation through the Budgets of the Public Service of State
Employment. These resources come from the collection of the Quota of Professional
Formation that carries out the Social Security.
The European Social Fund participates in the co financing of the Initiatives of
Formation, through the Several Regions Operative Programs Performance as regards
Continuous Formation and the Managerial Initiative of Reinforcement which are
contemplated in the Community Mark of Support for Spain for the period 2000-2006.
• INEM. http://www.inem.es/
The INEM (the Employment Institute) is an administrative autonomous Organism,
linked to the Ministry of Labour. This structure includes:
The Service of Employment and Formative Action.
The Labour Professional Promotion Labour.
Labour of Professional Formation of the Institutional Administration of Services
The National Institute of Employment has concrete objectives in the worker's
formation development through the opportune actions of bringing up to date and
improving the formation structures.
• Commission of Study for the Development of the Society of the Information.
The Special Commission of Study for the Development of the Society of the
Information, created by agreement of the council of Ministers in November of 2002, has
emitted its report of recommendations in which is considered like one of the main
barriers, the ignorance of the possible uses of the NTIC and the scarce current training.
In this report it intends to be defined a New Plan of General Performances for the
Development of the Society of the Information that assures the coordinated
participation of all the Public Administrations, and that potency the formation initiatives
to motivate and to facilitate the use of the TIC
• AETIC (Companies and ICT Association)
For the elaboration of its annual study AETIC and the Ministry of Industry, Tourism
and Trade have collaborated with the most important companies in the sector of
Technologies of the Information in Spain.
The study confirms the consolidation of the process of recovery of the sector, once
overcome the deceleration of the market lived at the beginning of the new millennium.
This complete report carries out an exhaustive analysis of the fundamental
parameters to know the situation of the ICT industry in Spain by analyzing the
factors of Production, interior market, distribution, clients, external trade, employment,
I+D, situation in the international environment, and future tendencies, among others. In
a same way it develops information of interest on the evolution of the Technologies of
the Information from 1995 to 2005.
• The E-Learning panel for the managerial organizations and the autonomous
The E-Learning panel for the managerial organizations and the autonomous
workers, co financed by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the European
Social Fund, has as main objective the investigation of detection of the barriers that
impede the full development of the e-Learning in Spain and the solutions to unblock
This Project is framed in the remote C of the financial support actions of the
FORINTEL Program that refers to the complementary performances to the
formation, among the activities of formation creation networks, actions of
sensitization and diffusion and codes of good practices. This Study is carried out in
the whole national territory, pointing out the global analysis, but with possibilities of
extracting the appropriate information for the Autonomous Community’s analysis.
• Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade.
The Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade is in charge, among other, of the
ordination of the development of the sector of the Telecommunications, the promotion
of the generation and the development of the technologies of the society of the
information and the stimulus of its generalised use. The Ministry of Industry, Tourism
and Trade prepares in its web page reports and modernized statistics of the ICT and
of the Society of the Information.
VI. GOOD POLICIES EXAMPLES
In this section, we chose three examples.
The first one, we chose it to see an example in a State Level, and always regarding to
CET in rural areas.
The second one has been chosen because it makes us realize about the lack of Internet
and computer tools in rural areas.
And the last one, has been chosen to show how in Autonomous Region Level they also
have their authority over CET matters.
FIRST EXAMPLE: National e-learning for the professional development: The
Green Space in Network, project of integration of the environment in the rural
The Project “Espacio Verde en Red” (Green Space in Network) is directed to active
workers of SMEs and autonomous professionals related with the environmental sector
who are developing their activity in the autonomous communities of Andalucia, Castilla
La Mancha, Castilla y León, Galicia and Murcia. The students will be allowed to
register to the Course and to the Seminar, to lead two different but complementary
The formation in environment is a basic necessity that at the present time is adapting to
the use of ICT, being essential for the improvement of the competitiveness through the
diversification and the productive, organizational and technological modernization.
The Project “Espacio Verde en Red” is a project promoted by the Spanish Net of Rural
Development, in collaboration with the “Biodiversity Foundation”, in the frame of the
formation and the environmental sensitization directed to the rural areas. It is divided in
1. Courses of rural development and environment:
The objective is to promote the knowledge of the environmental problem in the rural
areas, caused mainly by the primary activity and the rural populations, analyzing each
one of the elements of the affected areas and proposing preventive and corrective
actions as well as the applicable instruments of environmental administration.
This formation is designed for the SME’s workers and entrepreneurs of rural districts
and for the autonomous professionals of rural districts. It offers a mixed study
formation plan (6 hours presence courses and 24 hours e-learning courses) and a
personalized pursuit of the students by means of exercises of practical application and
continuous evaluation in relation with the following contents:
Module 1: The rural development and environment.
Module 2: Agriculture, the cattle raising and environment.
Module 3: Prevention and the integrated control of contamination in the rural world.
Module 4: The Environmental administration of waters and energy in the rural world.
Module 5: Administration of residuals in the rural world.
Module 6: Sustainable forest administration.
Module 7: The rural tourism and environment.
Module 8: Systems of environmental administration applied to the rural world.
Module 9: Hunting and sustainable fishing.
Module 10: The protected natural spaces and the rural development.
At the end of the sessions, and according to the use, an accreditation diploma will be
2. Environmental portal
This Formation has a concrete application through the platform web “Green Space in
Network: Your environmental portal on the net”
This is a web platform (www.educadoxa.net/espacioverdeenred) through which the user
will be able to access to a wide rural and environmental information, with interest and
utility for SMEs and autonomous professionals. This web is made for Public in general
and for professionals of SMEs and autonomous, especially to facilitate the access to the
information and the technical formation. The participants in the formation courses and
in the seminars of sensitization will have a restricted area of particular advice.
Consulting the platform the user can access to:
• An environmental clinic, composed by professionals having demonstrated
experience who consult on line, in a rapid and effective way.
• Information, through a monthly bulletin on the rural development and environment
composed of news, FAQ, links to other website, etc.
• Legislation, through a database of European environment normative, from the state
level to the autonomous level, with a focus on the rural world.
• A virtual library, a database with technical contents and references of good
practices, articles, documents, bibliography consultation, etc, in relation with the
rural development and environment.
• Formation, with an access to different formative actions on environment and rural
• Services for the SME’s and the autonomous, containing autochecking lists, as
tools for the SME’s environmental self-diagnosis.
• FAQ, where the main consultations of the rural PYMEs in connection with the
environment are exposed.
SECOND EXAMPLE: E-learning free actions: The Agrocope Case
Agrocope (www.agrocope.com), with the collaboration of the Spanish Ministry of
Industry, Trade and Tourism and the European Social Fund, puts to all its users'
disposition, collaborators and friends up to 2.250 Free office automation courses, with
the objective of fomenting the formation of the use of the computers in our sector.
These courses are one more step of the Agrocope commitment to bring the ICT to the
Rural World, in general, and to the Agriculture, Cattle raising and the Fishing, in
The eight courses that compose this promotion are the following ones:
1. Basic computer science
2. Windows 2000
3. Treatment of texts (Word 2000)
4. Calculation leaf (Excel 2000)
5. Presentations (PowerPoint 2000)
6. Databases (Access 2000)
7. Internet Explorer
8. Outlook 2000
The courses are carried out entirely through Internet, with the specialized on-line
support of tutors.
THIRD EXAMPLE: (Autonomous Level). A local initiative of e-learning
formation: La Generalitat Valenciana
The project e-formation of the Generalitat Valenciana (Council of The Community of
Valencia) has as main objective to set up, to impel and to motivate the formation in the
areas of interest related with the present and future training of its staff. In that way, it
incorporates the formation methodologies at distance based on the use of tools
multimedia and internet access, and focuses on the advantages that it brings.
To reach this aim, it provides a platform LMS (Learning Management System), which
allows the student to access to the on line formation through any computer, whatever his
Thanks to this new teaching form, the student can adapt the time of his formation to his
availabilities and to obtain more efficiency. Consequently, the project user can enjoy a
multidisciplinary and plural formation, which permits a continuous and personalized
melioration of the teaching quality.
The “e-formation” endows complete tools for the administration, the control and the
supervision of the courses, and necessary tools for to the student's correct formation as
an easy useful Internet interface navigator that allows, among many others advantages,
quality in the formation.
VII.1.- Analysis of the state of the matter:
There is a lot of e-formation in Spain and an excessive quantity of free courses financed
by the European Social Fund towards the poor level of development of the installations
providing the access of the ICT.
Furthermore, there are big difficulties to coordinate the offer and the formative demand:
the Spanish Network of Rural Development (La Red Española de Desarollo Rural)
confirms this situation, saying that there is no structure of reference for the rural. There
is an offer in contents for the promotion of the ICT and the country has to make several
preliminaries steps to develop it in the rural areas.
First, the SME’s must be convinced of the utility of the e-learning for their business. In
that way, a work of promotion and formation has to be organised, insisting on the
possibilities offered by the ICT for each business. The approach of the SME
entrepreneur must focus on the accumulated experience and on the reality of its
In parallel, a universal access to the network must be vindicated, especially in rural
areas and diverse technical options must be studied to hook to the networks. These
actions can be settled down by a process of negotiation with the purpose of improving
the infrastructures in the countryside.
Then, there is a necessity of developing a national network to index and to adapt all the
e-formations and to include the entities in charge of the rural SME’s to design
pragmatic solutions, redefining the concepts of Formations at Distance” and “Semi
Presence Formations” and in a further measure the concept of Telecentre and
Next, design relevant solutions for the work of the entrepreneur, through the creation of
precise tools which answer to the general necessities of its activity, improving its
Afterwards, it will be essential to detect and to reinforce the role of the main actors of
the SME’s (Mangers and employees, clients and providers, financial entities) in the ICT
Finally, it seems to be essential to localise the rural areas which have abilities to design
an e-learning implementation pole using the existing infrastructures of
telecommunications, and choosing an area with relevant demographical and formative
potentials of SME’s.
In other hand, trying to make a conclusion about the government actions, the national
initiatives related with the development of the eLearning and with the integration of all
the citizens in the Knowledge Society have been impelled basically by the Science and
VII.2.- Analysis of the state of the government actions:
The main performance lines that have been identified in the plans and initiatives of the
Spanish territory can be summarized in four sections:
1. The endowment of computer equipment (for public organisms) and public grants for
the acquisition of computer equipment by the individuals.
2. To facilitate the connection in the territory and in other cases to improve it through
the development of the nets with better broadband access (ADSL and RDSI).
3. The improvement of the services of the Public Administration, either through the
4. formation of the official employees or of the systematizing of services and processes.
5. The formation and/or the training of the citizens and the promotion of the E-
VII.3.- Future outlook:
From our point of view, a good part of the efforts should be guided to solve the barriers
of this high population percentage that it is not prepared to continue its formation with a
technological support as it is the E-Learning.
Another option would be the loan of laptops. The public libraries, those educational
centers or other associations of each municipalities could consider the option of
acquiring among 1 and 10 laptops (depending on the population) to loan them. To be
able to consent to the loan of one of these laptops it would be necessary to attend to a
short training course on the use and the care of the computers (courses that should to be
offered by the same entity).
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de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales y Fondo Social Europeo (2000)
Atlas de la España Rural. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación (2004)
Nogués, S. El futuro de los espacios rurales. Universidad de Cantabria (2004)
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Española del Observatorio Europeo Leader.
Juan M. García y José Abellán Gómez. “Sociedad de la Información y Desarrollo
Rural. Nuevos retos y oportunidades” en Agricultura Familiar en España 2005. (pp.
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Featherstone et al. (eds.) Global modernities, London.
Communication from the Comission to the Council, the European Parliament, the
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the Broadband Gap. Com (2006) 129 final
Jeremy Millard. Information Technologies and rural development. Observatory Dossier
nº 4. 2000
Jornadas Técnicas sobre Nuevas Tecnologías y Desarrollo Rural de la Unidad Española
del Observatorio Europeo Leader. Irurtzun, Navarra (1999)
Declaración de Valencia (2003) Conferencia Europea “La sociedad de la Información
como Instrumento Clave para el Desarrollo Rural”
RedIris. Lista nacional de expertos en e-learning http://www.rediris.es
Distance- educator. Lista internacional de e-learning http://www.distance-educator.com
Interviews to rural development experts and providers of e-Learning formation in the
rural area were lead: County of Castellón, county of Badajoz, REDR, FECOAV,
Formation department of the Chamber of Commerce of Teruel.