Tuesday, July 24, 2007

To gain entry to university, Spanish kids have to take a regional/national test known as the Selectividad. The Spanish custom is to express performance as a number out of 10, usually to two decimal places. Then, each year, all the universities publish their cut-off marks for the courses on offer. As these naturally reflect demand, they give a fascinating insight into the perceived worth of various careers in Spain. Here’s the numbers just published for Galicia’s universities:-

Medicine 8.7

Dentistry 8.4

Audio-visual Communication 8.1

English Translation & Interpretation 7.9

Physiotherapy 7.9

Journalism 7.7

Law 7.4

Nursing 7.3

I’m always surprised how low Law is. In fact, for some [most?] universities in Spain it’s around 5.0. On the other hand, Physiotherapy’s mark can be even higher that that for Medicine. I can’t pretend to understand why. It may be that you classify as a civil servant and have a well-paid, un-taxing and comfortable career close to ‘home’. And then a luxurious retirement. This, in truth, is the Spanish equivalent of the American Dream.

Under the Kyoto treaty, Spain was required to keep its increase in CO2 emissions to 15% over 1990 levels. In practice, it’s been 52%. Not very impressive but I doubt it’ll mean the end of media jibes at the wasteful Americans.

Talking of profligacy, the EU commission says the Spanish are not paying enough for their water and that prices should rise 45% over the next 3 years. This may test the country’s affection for the European superstate. Or it may not.

Talking of the EU – After years of ignoring the very rules which it introduced to control the economies of Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain, France is now demanding an extension of its dispensation to cover the consequences of planned reforms to its national economy. Not only this – the wind in President Sarkozy’s sails is clearly enough to have emboldened him to call for political control over the independent European Central Bank - ironically run by a Frenchman. So France and Germany, some say, are on a collision course for the soul of the EU. Interesting times. Having recently diluted Europe’s commitment to free trade, can France now achieve even greater success in returning the EU to the discredited French dirigiste model? Meanwhile, Spain’s Foreign Secretary has become the latest in a long line of Continental heavyweights to state openly that the new Treaty is exactly the same as the old Constitution as regards content, if not form. At the same time, back in the UK the government is saying there’s no need for the referendum it promised on the latter as it doesn’t now exist. So calls for this are absurd. Someone is lying. I wonder who.

Talking about referendums on the Treaty-which-isn’t-a-Constitution, the Spanish Foreign Secretary said only Ireland was planning one as it’s required by their Constitution. Everywhere else, he insisted, ratification via a referendum would be out of tune with the ‘collective spirit’. What a useful concept for the political elite. No need for us to ask you your opinion; we already know it. Besides you might prove us wrong. Like those bloody awkward French and Dutch people last time round.

Writing about my air-miles, TAP tell me ‘The final mileage balance indicated in our previous letter reflects a result that does not correspond to reality”. I guess they mean it’s wrong.


Mark said...

Hah... You actually got some information from TAP as regards air miles. I'm still waiting for my card a year after signing up. Did you know that TAP stands for "TAKE ANOTHER PLANE"?

Pedro said...

Cut-off marks don't reflect demand. They reflect the relation demand vs. avaible places. Law schools are bigger and can accept more students even if there is more demand for it than dentistry, that makes the mark lower.

Anonymous said...

And goodness knows... we need more lawyers!

Anonymous said...

No "media studies"?