Before the Cela law is definitively closed, various groups of teachers, supported by associations linked to their subjects, will make one last attempt to make their subjects gain prominence in the new educational law. Hearing separately, all claims have compelling reasons.
Why should we deprive students of facing the dilemmas of the subject of Ethics , of contact with the origin of Western civilization of Classical Culture , of the introduction to the financial principles and labor relations of Economics, of the stimulus of creativity, sensitivity and spatial intelligence of Plastic Education and Music.
All of them can be studied, to one degree or another, in Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO), which is where the battle is fought. But their teachers ask that they be core, or that it be mandatory for institutes to offer them, or that they are not taught in combination with other subjects.
All have campaigned to demand it. And some petitions will be raised again as amendments to the law in the Senate. An objective that, according to several parliamentary sources, has little chance of success.
The great obstacle, say those responsible for education, is that designing the curriculum is a zero-sum operation: what some subjects gain is exactly what others lose. Because no one advocates extending the school hours of secondary school
Which is 30 hours in the autonomous communities without a co-official language and 33 where they do have it, which places Spain (with 1,054 teaching hours per year) above the average of the European Union (893) and the OECD (758).
“When you study the petitions, you see them with sympathy,” says Secretary of State for Education, Alejandro Tiana. “We can understand that there is a set of subjects for which it would be good for students to have more hours.
The problem is the implication it would have for the school organization. We could reach the nonsense of having such exhaustive schedules that it is impossible to work. This is what happens in the fourth of ESO.
Only with the subjects that are considered common to all students, if there is also a co-official language, we will go to nine subjects and there are also electives, the Religion class if applicable schedules are not that big ”.
One of the great fights has been that of Ethics, which the Spanish Philosophy Network claims in the fourth year of ESO. Congress rejected a Podemos amendment in this regard. And now More Madrid and Compromís will try in the Senate.
The law does provide that in one of the first three high school courses the subject Civic and Ethical Values is studied, but Ángel Vallejo, high school teacher and spokesperson for the Spanish Philosophy Network, considers it insufficient.
“We think it is good that there is a subject of values, but values are only part of ethics. It also addresses why these values, what are the intellectual mechanisms by which they have been reached. In addition to establishing an ethical reflection based on moral dilemmas, for example whether young patients should be prioritized over elderly patients with covid.
Classical Culture, which will remain as an optional mandatory offer, claim that it be a core and that the law reinforce Latin. “Many students can pass their entire training without having any contact with the origin of their language, the etymology, the origin of technical words, which is Greek, and at the same time of democracy, art, philosophy.
The current path leads to the disappearance of these subjects, which are competed with 10 others, ”laments Jesús de la Villa, president of the Spanish Society for Classical Studies.
According to the Socialist spokesperson for Education in Congress, María Luz Martínez Seijo, a solution not to lose important content or increase the subjects is due to the change of the curriculum, whose preparation has just begun, from a model “very divided into subjects and subjects” to another “more interdisciplinary”, with project work in which several teachers participate.
What subjects would you have to take hours from to give it to yours? Several teachers avoid speaking up, but José María Martínez Murillo, professor and president of the Madrid Drawing Association, dares.
“The problem is that more and more hours of mathematics, language and English are given. The Administration only cares about these subjects, and humanistic training, creativity, music and technology are put aside ”.