THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA AND THE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

The process of European convergence is a reality in the Spanish university. This reform has involved a great change not only structural but also a novel approach to the teaching action. In this regard, the report "Student Centred Learning: Time for a New Paradigm in Education" (2010, European Students' Union, http://www.esu-online.org/pageassets/projects/projectarchive/2010-T4SCL-Stakeholders-Forum-Leuven-An-Insight-Into-Theory-And-Practice.pdf) shows clearly how this reform not only requires an updating curricula, but it raises the need for the institution develops its own educational model to promote this paradigm change.

This study analyzes the perceptions and beliefs of the Elementary School Teaching Degree students from the University of Jaén about the European Higher Education Area. For this purpose we have used a descriptive method using data collection through an ad hoc questionnaire whose validity and reliability has been reviewed (n = 361).

It is a questionnaire with a Likert like scale with responses ranging from 1 to 5 (where 1 = fully agree and 5 = strongly disagree), about three main topics:
1. Academic restructuring related to curriculum, teaching guides, quality of university teaching, etc.
2. Teaching Planning, to know how the teacher has changed its teaching program to get the teaching-learning process is as optimal as possible.
3. Specializations within the Elementary School Teaching Degree.

The study population is composed of 513 students in the first and third year of the Elementary School Teaching degree. For the selection of subjects used a simple random probability sampling, including those individuals that randomly responded to the questionnaires sent (n = 361).

Among the results, we emphasize that students are satisfied with the work developed by the university teaching staff and the empathetic teacher-student relationships, even though they consider that the new curriculum does not mean an improvement in the quality of the teaching-learning processes.

Students think that this curriculum does not promote skills training, student mobility and socio-employment but they value positively the tutorials, the use of virtual spaces or the updated and easily accessible bibliography. Furthermore students demand further information about specialties offered by the University of Jaén.