When thinking about settling in a different country like Andorra for take advantage of all its advantages, education is not a trivial subject. Especially if the change of country is in the family or includes children or minors, since knowing what, where and how the children will study is more essential than one's own personal education. Doubts such as the language of study and the possibilities and opportunities offered by a different educational system for a legal guardian are often frequent. To solve them, in this article we are going to address education in Andorra.
The Andorran educational system is quite complex, since the Principality is in the Pyrenees between France and Spain and have historically welcomed people of different nationalitiesThis has been transmitted to the institutions as well, in this case to the educational ones. This has implied that the educational system is varied and flexible, with great freedom to choose and very complete.
In fact, if we are going to talk (or write) about education in Andorra we should talk about the Andorran educational systems, plural. Because there are specifically three: the french education system, the spanish educational system and the andorran educational system.
We could even talk about four if we include the British College of Andorra. Although the English system can only be accessed through this private school, it can be a very interesting option for english emigrants or from another country that does not want to join any of the three public systems. But first, let's look at a little history.
Until the twentieth century, The Principality was a very isolated, rural territory, with very harsh living conditions and a feudal-style political regime with institutions and laws rather typical of the Middle Ages.
However, in 1866, a noble and wealthy Andorran landowner, Guillem d'Areny i Plandolit, spearheaded a reform in government institutions, the Nova Reforma, which allowed for limited participation of heads of households in government from the country. This reform was accepted by the Bishop of Urgel in 1866 and in 1869 by Napoleon III (co-prince) and the General Council was composed, with 24 councilors elected by the trustees.
This reform led to the appearance of the first confessional and congregational schools, among which the one in Canillo stands out in 1880. These schools were Spanish, and were the origin of the schools that depended for the first time on the Ministry of Education of Spain from 1930.
Due to the fact that Andorra has traditionally always been a host country for emigrants, soon these schools were not enough and from 1900 the first French schools began to open. The legal status of these French schools was regulated in 1982 with the promulgation of the Decree on the schools and the Lyceum of the French Prince in the Principality.
Thirty years later, in 1930, the first secular Spanish schools are created and during 1960 and 1970 the previous schools were modernized. In 1972, the need to preserve the identity and peculiarities of the country in its education was detected. So an Andorran Training program is launched in foreign educational systems by teaching the Catalan language and the history, geography and institutions of Andorra.
This training would culminate ten years later in the Andorran educational system, the Escola Andorrana, with a series of legislation on schools such as the Decret sobre les escoles. In addition, the situation of French schools is regulated. Finally, in 1993, the situation of Spanish schools was regulated with the Hispano-Andorran Agreement on educational matters, signed on January 11.
Since 1993 school supply has continued to increase in all areas to the point that there is currently even a high-capacity association, named Zebra4, dedicated to serving those children with extraordinary talent or gifted.
Although the three educational systems are different, they all share a number of minimum points:
- The powers are centralized in the Andorran Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports with three secretaries of state.
- All systems are governed by the Qualified Education Law (BOPA 51, September 1993) and by the Andorran Education System Law (BOPA 48, July 1994), although there are agreements with Spain, France and Portugal.
- Compulsory education includes First and Second Education, and ranges from 6 to 16 years old.
- Voluntary education is Maternal Education (at 3 years) and Baccalaureate Vocational Training (16 to 18 years), and university education (post-compulsory).
- Regulated education includes Maternal Education, First and Second education, Baccalaureate, Vocational Training and University Education.
- With the exception of private schools, all educational systems are free.
- There is school transportation, provided by the Andorran government.
- Skiing is a compulsory activity in all educational systems during primary education, under the label «school ski»And as part of the physical education area, as the Principality is a country of snow.
Having said that, we are going to review the different Andorran educational systems.
Spanish educational system
- It depends on the Spanish Ministry of Education, represented since 1993 by the Ministry of Education of Spain in Andorra, attached to the Embassy of Spain, with Technical Advice and located in Andorra la Vella.
- Spanish language and culture are promoted, as well as Spanish history and geography.
- The base language of the Spanish educational system is Catalan, which is the official language of the country. However, Spanish and French are not only taught, but are considered languages of instruction in education, and are so in many subjects throughout teaching.
- The school Maria Moliner, which includes the Spanish School (maternity and first education) and the Spanish institute (second education and high school), is subsidized by the government of Spain and is secular.
- The schools Mare Janer, Sant Ermengol, and Sacred Family they are confessional and are subsidized by the Andorran government, although they follow the Spanish educational system.
- The Private School of the Pyrenees, now called Ágora International School Andorra, also follows the Spanish educational system although it has a much more international focus, also including English. Of course, this center is private.
Andorran Educational System
The system is similar to Spanish, except that it places more emphasis on knowledge of the Principality in all its aspects.
- The powers are centralized in the Andorran Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports with three secretaries of state, and is managed by the Consell de les Escoles.
- It seeks among others to promote the identity, values, culture, geography, history, etc. of the Principality, and is based on the rights, freedoms and principles established in the Andorran Constitution.
- The centers of maternal education and first education are that of Canillo, Encamp, Pas de la Casa, Ordino, La Massana, Sant Julia de Lòria, Escaldes-Engordany and of course the Andorra la Vella, the country's capital. As we see, a school for each one of the seven parishes of Andorra.
- The secondary schools are the one of Encamp, Ordino and that of Santa Coloma, and the one of high school the one of Andorra la Vella.
- All these centers together form the so-called Andorran School.
- The base language is obviously Catalan.
French Educational System
- It responds to an Agreement between the Government of the Principality of Andorra and the Government of the French Republic in the field of education, signed in 2004.
- It is fully funded and subsidized by the French government.
- He depends on the French educational authorities, and follows his curriculum.
- The base and vehicular language is obviously French.
- There are numerous centers, both for maternal, primary and secondary education. Thus, there are two maternal and elementary school centers, that of Andorra la Vella and that of Escaldes-Engordany, and seven elementary schools: Encamp, Santa Coloma, Sant Julia de Lòria, La Massana, Ordino, Canillo Y Pas de la Casa. There is also the Lycée Comte de Foix (see the operation of the french education system).
So that, the school offer in Andorra is very varied and complete. As for the students, to give us an idea, in the 2016-2017 academic year, 28% of students were in the Spanish educational system, 39% in Andorran and 33% in French.
University in Andorra
Although primary and secondary education is very flexible and advanced, multilingual and opens the way to an immense variety of opportunities (they allow you to opt for tertiary studies both from your own country, as well as from Spain and France), higher education in Andorra is very complicated. The Principality only has the University of Andorra opened in 1997 and offers very few outings, leading students who want to study a better internationally recognized career to leave the country and head to Spain or France.
However, despite being a very young university, it evolves very quickly, is opening internationally and has more than acceptable figures. For example, in 2018 the Andorran Higher Education Quality Agency (Agència de Qualitat de l'Ensenyament Superior, AQUA) conducted a study of the university's job placement, resulting in more than 90% of graduates find work before finishing the studies or during the first month of search.
The careers offered by the University of Andorra (UdA) are Business Administration and Management, Humanities, Law, Nursing, Computer Science, Teaching, Communication and Language. Of all of them the first 4 are offered in person, while the rest are virtual and in collaboration with other Universities. It also has several master's degrees and other postgraduate degrees.
The first-cycle university degrees taught at the University of Andorra are Bachelor's degrees of 180 European credits, structured in three academic years. All of them adapted to the guidelines of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and recognized in the countries that are part of it.
In addition, tuition prices are quite affordable, it has its own campus in Sant Julià de Lòria and belongs to numerous international institutions such as the Association of European Universities or the International Association of Universities.
By 2024, a new university is going to open its doors in Andorra called Tech Global University. It is a University that comes from Tenerife and has other sister branches in Mexico. It is a virtual university, which at its main headquarters has more than 10,000 online courses (although only a few hundred official degrees).
Other tertiary education centers
In addition to the University, Andorra has various tertiary education centers. For example, it has a professional training center and a Adult Training Center at Aixovall, the aviation academy Andorra Aviation Academy o a VATEL subsidiary, the prestigious international hotel and tourism school considered the best in the world in the sector, with a Bachelor and an MBA in International Hospitality.
In conclusion, school education in Andorra offers a wide catalog of possibilities to choose fromIt is very flexible and is taking giant steps towards internationalization and achieving great prestige. On the other hand, in terms of tertiary studies, although the University of Andorra still does not offer many degrees, those it provides are homologated, regulated and have great job opportunities.
In addition, tertiary education is complemented by other tertiary education centers to provide the maximum educational variety possible to a small, but welcoming country with great international aspirations, especially since the last decade of transformation made in this regard.
Finally, we remind you that if you want to establish yourself in this fabulous country, the most advisable thing is to do it in the hands of good professionals, in a safe, comfortable and carefree way. You can contact us and move to the country without complications here. And you can read more information about the Principality in our blog.