This chapter comprises two sections from the book La Educación en España (Bosch and Díaz, 1988): the prologue to the book, by Mark Blaug, and a section by its principal authors on the difficulties of estimating educational costs. The principal purpose of including these sections in this volume has to do with the historical significance of the inadequacies of available data to which the authors refer (the book appeared too early for extensive reference to or comment on the results of pilot reforms inaugurated by the government in the early to mid-1980s). In the years following publication of the book, there have been significant measures improving upon the collection and dissemination of data about the educational system. These include: annual publications of educational statistics by the Ministry of Education and Science; research studies published by the Centre de Investigatión, Documentatión y Evaluación (CIDE), which was established in 1983; the setting up in 1994 of the Instituto Nacional de Calidad y Evaluación (INCE) (and of similar bodies to promote and assess quality in the autonomous communities, such as the Instituto para el Desarrollo Curricular y la FormacióZn del Profesorado in Eúskadi, established in 1992); annual reports since 1987 on the state of education by the Consejo Escolar del Estado (a national consultative council) and its equivalents in the autonomous communities, together with the annual reports of the participative governing council (at the levels of the State and of the autonomous communities) for the universities’ Consejo de Universidades established in 1983 and, since 1993, for vocational training, the Consejo de Formación Profesional, together with the results of extended consultations by government in the period leading up to reform legislation, and the often well-informed critical appraisals of government initiatives by the trade unions. Legislative requirements on school governing bodies to develop annual reports, annual programme and curriculum plans, proyectos educativos and proyectos curriculares, together with action research initiatives and evaluation work carried out under the auspices of the university-based Institutes de Ciencias de la Educación (ICEs) or the recently established
networks of teachers’ centres (CEPs), may also be adding significantly to the development of grass-roots data that can address questions of process as well as outcomes. The re-shaped schools inspectorate is also beginning to focus on more empirically based evaluative investigations (for example, the Plan EVA in progress at the time of writing in 1994 has involved evaluative investigation of 350 primary and secondary schools). The fruit of many of these initiatives, however, has still to be harvested, and there can be no doubt that there is a great deal still to be desired. The processes of devolution of educational responsibility to the autonomous communities, while these may improve data collection in particular communities, also greatly heighten the potential for lack of co-ordination and standardization between them. In particular it is doubtful whether studies of the sophistication proposed by Blaug, Bosch and Díaz are much in evidence, but the growing maturity and confidence of the educational administration and of the academic establishment in the field of education suggest that there may be significant improvement in this area. The reality of the historical dearth of reliable data, however, will continue to hinder longitudinal comparative study.