What happens to students who do not choose the subject of Religion?

One of the aspects that are not yet defined in the LOMLOE is what subject will occupy the time of the subject of Religion for those who do not choose religious formation.

Javier Segura-October 25, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes

One aspect that is always a cause of debate in the processing of an educational law is the one that affects the Religion class and, more specifically, the activities carried out by students who do not choose this subject. In this regard, we are learning the details of the Royal Decrees in which the LOMLOE is specified and which give us clues as to where the management of the Ministry of Pilar Alegria is going to go.

In the LOE of Zapatero's government, students who did not take the subject of Religion had Educational Attention Measures (MAE). This formula did not work, since in reality it was an empty educational space without any kind of curricular content. And even in the higher grades, in Bachillerato, the final result was that the students who did not choose Religion went home an hour earlier or entered the center an hour later, since the management teams, in order not to have students in the center without doing anything, organized the schedules in this way. This was a complete disaster, which ended up weakening the subject of Religion and was detrimental to the whole educational system.

The following law, the LOMCE of Minister Wert, created the subject of 'Values', which had curricular content, for these students. A regulation which, there is no doubt, has worked quite well, but which from the very first moment, was rejected by Sánchez and his then Minister of Education, Isabel Celaá. The clear position was that there should be no 'mirror subject' to the Religion class. The LOMLOE would return, therefore, to Zapatero's model.

Although not exactly. Because, although it is true that the law did not propose a mirror subject for students who do not take Religion, what we are learning from the Royal Decrees does not leave it as much in the air as the LOE did. This is exactly what the draft of the Royal Decree says in this regard:

The educational centers will provide the organizational measures so that students whose parents or guardians have not opted for them to take religious education receive the appropriate educational attention. This attention will be planned and programmed by the centers in such a way that they are directed to the development of transversal competencies through the realization of meaningful projects for the students and collaborative problem solving, reinforcing self-esteem, autonomy, reflection and responsibility. In any case, the proposed activities will be aimed at reinforcing the most transversal aspects of the curriculum, favoring interdisciplinarity and the connection between different knowledge.

The activities referred to in this section will in no case involve the learning of curricular content associated with knowledge of religion or any area of the stage.

Perhaps it is my pathological optimism, but I would like to see in this provision a possibility to organize these students who do not choose Religion and create a coherent educational space.

From the outset, it points out that this learning must be planned and programmed. And, indeed, like everything that is done in education, they must be evaluated, I would add. It will be the centers that will have to do this programming, although it would obviously be ideal if the Administration were the one to do it. But in any case, it is pointed out that each center, each management team, must program and plan this teaching-learning moment. This is not a trivial matter, if we take it seriously.

And it gives the keys to this. We must work on transversal competencies, favor interdisciplinarity and the connection of knowledge, and do so through projects that influence the growth and maturity of the student in aspects such as problem solving, self-esteem, reflection and responsibility.

If one takes this approach seriously, one could generate a subject that develops many of the aspects that we also propose in the subject of Religion and that, in fact, the new curriculum of the Spanish Episcopal Conference has wanted to reinforce. We are facing the challenge of educating mature people, in all aspects of their personality, and that they have an overall vision -not compartmentalized- of the different knowledge. And this is good for all students, for those of Religion and for those who do not choose this area. Indeed, this type of learning is part of what we propose in the area of Religion when we speak of providing a Christian worldview of reality, of faith-culture dialogue, or the need for an integral education that embraces all the dimensions of the person.

If the Autonomous Communities and the educational centers themselves wish, the development of these indications could fix what is undoubtedly not well regulated by the Government in the law.

Let us do our best and always work for the best.

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