Spain

The Episcopal Conference asks for a "reasonable extension" of the Religion timetable

The publication of the development projects of the LOMLOE elaborated by the Spanish Government reduces to a minimum the curricular presence of the teaching of Religion, eliminates its computability in higher stages and does not offer a comparable alternative to those who do not choose the subject.

Maria José Atienza-November 4, 2021-Reading time: 4 minutes
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The projects of development of the LOMLOE made public by the Government have left more than one "unpleasant surprise" for parents and schools that, for more than a year, have shown their disagreement with this law, processed without consensus and in which, among other things, the presence of the subject of Religion is reduced to the minimum expression.

In this sense, the Episcopal Commission for Education and Culture of the Spanish Episcopal Conference has issued a note in which they regret that the evaluation of the subject, despite the fact that it is offered at all stages, "is not taken into account in the higher stages, for the purposes of computability", in addition to the lack of a comparable offer to students who do not choose Religion.

Likewise, the note points out that the published projects reduce, even more than the LOE, the Religion timetable, and therefore regrets that "the teaching load in such a decisive area for the education of the person is limited to the minimum possible".

The note also includes the Curriculum proposal, elaborated by this commission as a result of the numerous contributions gathered in the sessions on the new curriculum held between February and April, which do not seem to have been taken into account at all by the Ministry, despite the fact that when they were delivered, as the Secretary General of the EEC, Bishop Argüello, stated, the representatives of the Ministry affirmed that it was the first complete curriculum development they had.

For all these reasons, from the The Episcopal Commission for Education and Culture of the Spanish Episcopal Conference has asked the autonomous administrations, in charge of the development of the curriculum in the different areas " a reasonable extension of the timetable of the area/subject of Religion, without reducing it to that established by the Ministry within the scope of its competences on Minimum Education" and have emphasized their "willingness to dialogue with the educational Administrations within the scope of their competences" and have highlighted their "willingness to dialogue with the educational Administrations within their competences".

Note from the Bishops' Commission for Education and Culture

As we have already stated in the November 2020 NoteThe current Education Law was not born of an educational pact and its urgent processing - in times of pandemic and in a state of alarm - prevented "an adequate participation of the entire educational community". We regret, especially, that the spiritual and religious dimension of individuals and peoples is not sufficiently reflected in the Law. However, we consider as positive contributions the concern for the human formation of students, the recognition of the responsibility of families, or the reference to the international framework and the key competencies of the EU.

The Chairman of the Commission, in his speech at the Forum on the new Religion curriculum of February 2021, recalled -after the approval of the Law- that "we would have liked that the proposal that the Episcopal Conference made to the Ministry in July 2020, had found acceptance in the legislative approaches and that a better accommodation of the Religion class in the educational system had been achieved. The text finally approved maintains a situation already known, which is not entirely satisfactory for us".

The Commission, in the exercise of its responsibility, has developed the subject curriculum in dialogue with the pedagogical framework of the LOMLOE. The proper place of School Religious Education in the integral educational process is thus made clear, as well as its capacity to be present in the school while respecting its nature and pedagogical requirements, like other subjects.

Knowing the development projects of the LOMLOE, we recognize that it has maintained the obligatory offer of Catholic Religion in all stages, from the second cycle of Pre-school to High School, and that its evaluation has been regulated "in the same terms and with the same effects as the other areas/subjects".

It is not understood, however, that in these Projects this evaluation is not taken into account in the higher stages, for the purposes of computability. And we consider it a mistake that students who do not choose Religion have not been offered an area/subject in comparable conditions; this would avoid any risk of discrimination and would have been a better response to the requirements derived from the key competencies.

The opportunity has been lost to maintain at least the minimum LOE timetable, a law that the LOMLOE gives continuity to. It is surprising that in a commitment to a competency-based model, the teaching load is limited to the minimum possible in an area as decisive for the education of the person as is the ERE.

Considering that, according to the LOMLOE, the Autonomous Communities have the competence to determine a large part of the curricular contents, we request from the respective educational Administrations a reasonable extension of the timetable of the area/subject of Religion, without reducing it to that established by the Ministry within the scope of its competences on Minimum Education.

We also maintain an open dialogue with the Ministry for its possible regulation in the territory under its jurisdiction.

The proposal of educational attention, for those who do not choose Religion, regulated in the projects of the Minimum Teaching by means of the work of transversal competences, can facilitate the school organization. It is the serious responsibility of the educational authorities and the right of the students to program and carry out the school work thus regulated, which is essential given the importance of this dimension of education and in order to avoid any discrimination.

It is surprising that in the draft Decrees of Minimum Education there is no reference to the proposal of "Non-confessional religious culture" foreseen in the Second Additional Provision of the LOMLOE, which could well constitute a proposal of educational attention for students who do not choose Religion.

The Episcopal Commission for Education and Culture has tried to find a positive and acceptable solution for all parties to the situation of Religious Education in Schools, offering also concrete proposals. In this time that is opening after the regulation of the Minimum Education, we reiterate the will of dialogue with the educational Administrations in the scope of their competences.

Aware of the fundamental importance of the good of education for students, their families and society as a whole, we propose the presence of the Christian educational proposal and the value of its contribution to the world of education. We do not lose hope of reaching agreements and pacts on educational matters that are inclusive and that count on everyone.

Episcopal Commission for Education and Culture
November 4, 2021

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