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CICAE – Association of Private Independent Schools

The standard of private independent education

Talking with...Elena Cid, managing director of CICAE 

CICAE ( was founded in September 2010, created by nine prestigious private and independent establishments. It is currently made up of 21 organisations who represent a total of 36 schools in eight autonomous regions, comprised of more than 33,000 students. This association came about because a group of private education professionals were concerned about the state of education in Spain in general and felt the need to ring fence  their shrinking room for manoevre in particular. 


What’s the standard of private education in Spain?

If we are referring to our affiliated schools, which are after all what we are here to talk about, we can claim that the standard of private independent education here is excellent. CICAE is made up of outstanding, well-known establishments that deliver educational excellence, that search constantly for new methods that evaluate its teaching systems, that aim to train their teaching staff consistently and implement educational techniques. The proof of this is in the high number of our students who win special prizes each year or in the fact that we are the first association that meets the evaluation criteria of PISA. Our trust in education is so high that we applaud each student who graduates from our schools every year. 

Are you at war with state-subsidised education?

Well, our struggle is against the institutions which allow and favour these, who don’t fulfill the legal requirements of state subsidised education law, which forbids profit-making and makes free education compulsory. However, we are witnessing a new business model where business is given state-owned land, for a laughable fee, exempt from tax, a  model which allows them to charge families fees on an unclear basis, thus threatening the model of free education and voluntary payment. We believe that subsidised schools cannot function as profit-making businesses. We are against the private use of state funds.

On the other hand, state institutions as well as subsidised schools are taking advantage of society’s confusion between private and state-subsidised education, by either using the private school name  or financing  themselves on state funds accordingly

The current situation

What is the impact of technology on teaching?

Well its making a definite impact, just as in other areas of society. Now we cannot imagine high quality education without slides or more advanced technology which teachers or students can access. In CICAE, for example, 4 years ago we set up a working group called CICATEC, which was made up of the IT departments of our schools. We organise  periodic meetings in different schools each time, to display all those educational initiatives directly linked to technology and media being developed in our schools. Its a fantastic forum to share and learn from colleagues in the same  profession who are in very similar situations. We’ve already had CICATEC training workshops in the following colleges: Virgen de Europa, Brains, SEK, Mirabal, Ramon y Cajal, King’s College and San Patricio.

With the advancing speed of technological developments in education what can teachers do to adapt?

Well, as with everything concerning work, keep training constantly always, keep informed of the latest  technological developments in teaching and in the educational  opportunities this opens up for young people. 

Further information: CICAE

Read the article in Spanish, leer artículo en español 

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