Sunday, 15 April 2012

Strong Wholemeal Flour Mystery

I wrote a post in Spanish that hypothesises about why people (myself included) use strong wholemeal flour, a product that my literature search indicates was unknown until just a few years ago. Harina de fuerza integral para hacer pan.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Successful Degree Recognition in Spain

After nearly a year I have finally been granted recognition of my Open University degree by the Spanish Ministry of Education. I'm telling the story here in the hope that it might be of use to others in the same situation.
scanned image of the official degree certificate from the Spanish ministry of education

It was a complicated process because many of the modules I studied in the 1990s have been retired and there is no definitive source of information. I was able to at compile a summary of each one from a diversity of sources:
  • Course module materials
  • An eBay sale listing
  • Records from the Open University library online
  • Other people's online CVs
  • Official OU Degree Supplement

The Degree Supplement was acceptable but the initial application was declined as there was insufficient detail about the content of each module. None of the other information was acceptable but I compiled it into a coherent an consistent document and the Open University forwarded it to the library who (very generously, I thought) checked it against the original course materials in the library. This saved me visiting the library myself, and the considerable cost of a journey to Milton Keynes and an overnight hotel stay there. Unfortunately the Spanish criteria are based on years of full.-time academic study, while OU modules are based on an estimate of the hours. Included an estimate of the years of study on the document that I submitted to the OU. The document was stamped by the OU to make it official and I had a sworn translation done at a cost of about €100. This was sufficient for the application to be accepted.

I applied for recognition as a named degree but without knowing what the requirements are. This was rejected and on seeing the requirements it was evident that there were several modules (asignaturas) that I did not have. If I'd had that information before I applied, I would have saved several months of delay. the rejection leter helpfully stated that I would be eligible for a diploma, which I believe is less than my degree but is an acceptable university-level academic qualification.

The staff at the Ministry of Education at the enquiries office on calle de Alcalá and the registry on calle de los Madrazo were very helpful and I did not have to wait more than five minutes.

Here are some of the online resources I consulted:

Friday, 30 March 2012

General Strike and Day of Protest

Yesterday, Thursday 29th was the (one) day of the national General Strike in Spain. I had been doubting whether to go to work or not, but having done it I'm in no doubt now that it was worthwhile. The right to strike is enshrined in the Spanish constitution of 1978. At work an email was sent round informing everyone of their rights. I'm not too clear about how many people at Vector Software Factory took part, as I wasn't there to see, but I know of several nearby others who did. Most people who didn't and said they wouldn't, went to work to avoid losing a day's pay. I didn't hear anyone speak in favour of the legislation.

After lunch we went to join the protest march. There were so many people that we could hardly make any progress along the venue (Paseo del Prado) and so we took a shortcut up some side streets to the calle de Alcalá, and from there via the calle Preciados over to the opposite side of the Puerta del Sol, to try to hear the speeches. The picture shows me in front of the Education Ministry.

Photo of Alan in the middle of the crowd

I think that the employment measures are not much different to what the situation is in other European countries but the way they've introduced them and the motivation behind them is something that I couldn't not protest about. I'm sure it won't make the government change it's mind, not that it has much choice in the matter as it obeys forces beyond this country's frontiers or its citizens, but at least I took part in the protest. Today (after the strike) the government's about to announce the most draconian budget. with the UK getting deeper into recession and decay it isn't much of a model to follow, but that's what they're doing.

Saturday, 24 March 2012