By Federica Candido
In Spain the new law on education, called ‘LOMLOE’ (Ley Orgánica de Modificacion de la LOE) and known as the Celaá Law (from the name of the PSOE’s Minister of Education), was approved on 29 December 2020 but will become effective from September, at the start of the 2022/2023 school year.
Vast and multifaceted has been the debate that has ensued within the Spanish cultural and political world. In previous issues we have attempted to give an account of it.
It is a wide-ranging law that touches on delicate aspects, first and foremost the linguistic one, which would require proportionate time and space to be properly addressed and discussed.
The area concerning the teaching of religion, which interests us most closely, is the one that has provoked the most reactions.
The Celaá law aims to establish a renewed legal system in the field of education in order to increase the educational and training opportunities of the entire student population, reduce student segregation and strengthen digital competence. Ample space within the LOMLOE – as emphasised in the introduction – is given to the role of values and ethics based on the principles set out in the 2030 Agenda. Individual responsibility, education for peace and non-violence, affective-sexual education, education for sustainability and ecological transition, respect for other cultures are just some of the terms of reference from which the law was written.
The conservative world, however, defines LOMLOE as an ideological law whose objectives are to educate students with ‘gender free’ theories, to cancel the teaching of religion and to abolish Castilian (i.e. Spanish) as a vehicular language in schools.
The reform, in fact, has been strongly opposed by the right-wing world, which fears the undermining of parents’ right to decide on the education to be given to their children and the cancellation of the freedom to propose a Catholic education. In fact, LOMLOE has cut funding to the so-called ‘concertadas’ schools, i.e. private schools, free for families but subsidised by regional governments, which are mostly Catholic.
The other point that has aroused vehement criticism (suffice it to recall that more than 1.3 million signatures were collected against the Celaá Law) concerns the teaching of religion, which, according to some interpreters, will gradually be abolished.
On 15 April 2022, the Spanish Bishops’ Conference reported that only 48% of children and young people enrolled in public schools attend religious instruction, while 52% attend classes in other subjects.
In non-state schools, on the other hand, adherence is remarkable: the percentage of pupils enrolled in courses of religion actually increases in both private schools (75%) and paritarian schools (almost 90%).
In the face of this heterogeneous and diversified panorama, the text of the law states that the course of religion will no longer be average and that it will not have to be replaced by another course by those who decide not to follow it.
We will see, starting next autumn, its concrete application in Spanish schools. One of the first problems is already emerged: what will do the students who do not attend the course of religion?
– https://www.eldiario.es/sociedad/prohibido-ensenar-nadie-alumnos-no-elijan religion_1_9135582.html
– https://www.laopiniondemurcia.es/comunidad/2022/07/26/educacion-sube-1- 5-numero-70856606.html
– https://www.magisnet.com/2022/07/madrid-impartira-el-horario-minimo-de valores-civicos-que-establece-la-lomloe/
– https://www.religionenlibertad.com/polemicas/488796260/escuelas-catolicas valencia-lomloe-religion.html
– https://www.eldiario.es/comunitat-valenciana/opinion/nueva-ley-educacion competencias-religion_129_9194705.html
– https://www.conferenciaepiscopal.es/comunicado-sobre-curriculos-de-religion catolica/
– https://www.hispanidad.com/sociedad/educacion-hablan-obispos-no-hay calidad-educativa-sin-reconocer-clase-religion-catolica_12035640_102.html – https://www.eldebate.com/educacion/20220726/60-familias-piden-religion-no hay-partido-tenga-esos-porcentajes.html.
By Federica Candido