Many in the Republican political movement, both prior to and during the Civil War, viewed education as a fundamental tool in unleashing social and economic transformation in Spain. Many politicians, such as Jesús Hernández Tomás who served as Minister of Education in Republican Spain from 1936 to 1938, saw education as a means to inculcate a secular and egalitarian spirit in future generations so as to sustain their political program. Tomás was particularly interested in simply bring people into contact with new information and ideas, which was an uphill battle since at the time nearly fifty percent of the Spanish population was illiterate.
During the Civil War, the Republican enacted several programs to further their education program. This poster refers to one part of the education reforms known as the Institutos Obreros or Worker's Institutes. These institutes were created by a decree on November 21, 1936 and served to open educational opportunities to more Spaniards. Education was free to workers aged fifteen to thirty-five and any student who had to quite a job in order to attend the institutes was paid a stipend by the Republican government. In addition, a system of scholarships was set up in September 1937 to provide financial aid to lower class families.
This poster serves two purposes. First, it informs viewers of the Institutes and provides the crest of Spain in the upper left hand corner to further the legitimacy of the enterprise. Second, education is presented as a motivation for defeating fascism. Thus, the Republicans used their programs for social reform as a further means to motivate the population and encourage resistance to Franco's troops.
Unlike the Republican government, the Nationalist government had very little involvement in education. In general, responsibility for educating the next generation reverted to the Catholic Church in the parts of Spain under Nationalist control.