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Good Practices in Distance Education from UNED with the Army and Athletes

Exams at international missions

Based on an agreement with the Ministry of Defence signed on 2011, the soldiers of Spanish Army in military bases can take their exams. For instance, personnel of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Gabon, Iraq, Kabul, Lebanon, Mali, Somalia, and Turkey took their exams in various calls in recent years. Also, examination outside the ordinary term of the calendar to military displaced in the Ship Hesperides (Atlantida Mission) and Ship Juan Carlos I, which have carried out exams in several centres (Fernández Vázquez, 2020a & 2020b).

General Gutiérrez Mellado University Institute

The Institute is a research and teaching centre specializing in issues related to the search for peace, security, and defence. It was born in 1997 with an agreement between the Ministry of Defence and UNED to offer studies in military education centres to strengthen ties between the political, military, and academic spheres. Its objectives are to develop scientific research, encourage postgraduate education, promote the dissemination of scientific works, and create a framework for reflection and dialogue. It offers specialization programs – official master's degrees and courses – and doctorate) and means (events, library, and publications) with specific issues of peace, security, and defence to the professionals and researchers who require specific knowledge on these matters.

Degree for the promotion of non-commissioned officers of the Armed Forces

The Project is an agreement between the Ministry of Defence and the UNED for the promotion of the rank of non-commissioned officers, military personnel who constitute the fundamental link of the Armed Forces. The special situation of these personnel requires credit recognition mechanisms based on the qualifications of higher technician of Vocational Training, professional experience and courses of improvement education developed in the career of non-commissioned officers. The project has been presented in 2021 and is currently being designed (Fernández Vázquez, 2021).

High-performance sports

Thanks to an agreement with the Higher Council of Sports (Ministry of Culture and Sport), an aid program for high-level university athletes is carried out. The program supports athletes at an academic level in terms of organizing their study time, providing specific online tutors, solving doubts about the different subjects, and adapting the regular calendar of exams. It also promotes and rewards their participation in the different university championships, and supports them financially either by granting them credits, making a return of the tuition, or giving them an economic bag for books and didactic materials (Ramos Rodríguez, 2011).

Specific protocol for learning

The UNED has a protocol of attention to elite athletes that facilitates the adaptation of the times and the realization of the tests according to the calendar of preparation of tests in which they must participate. In addition to flexibility in pace and time management, these students need to be able to regulate the moments of face-to-face tests when the official calendar of written tests coincides with the competitions and be able to move them if they require it.


- To support athletes at an academic level in terms of organizing their study time, solving doubts about the different subjects and as far as possible changes in the date of exams.

- To promote and reward the participation of athletes in the different university championships.

- To support athletes financially either by granting them credits, making a return on tuition or giving them an economic bag for books and teaching materials.


The program has a series of actions specifically designed to support elite athletes:

- Recognition of credits for being registered in high-level sports organizations or for representing the UNED in university competitions. - Specific tutorial support plan to help make academic activity compatible with sport.

- Financial aid from the university in the public prices of the tuition, bag for books and didactic materials and endowment of material and sports clothing.

- Specific Reception Plan for athletes, explaining the operation of the UNED, the services and the possibilities of flexibility and adaptation of the UNED to their needs.

- Professional guidance advising on the professional opportunities of the careers.

Diplomatic corps and embassy staff

Students of the diplomatic corps and embassy staff can take their exams thanks to a technological deployment supervised from the headquarters of the rectorate of the UNED. Due to this agreement, they take their exams in the embassies and consulates of several countries as Australia, South Korea, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Kenya, Nicaragua, Panama, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, and Turkey (Fernández Vázquez, op. cit.).

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