The government has announced reforms in primary school education. The new decree is called Minimum Teaching in Primary and will come into force in the next academic year.
The biggest changes with respect to the current system is that primary school pupils will be able to choose whether or not to study Religious Education, and those who choose not to will have the right to study an alternative subject. This is already the case in most state schools, but many private schools with religious connections offer no substitute to the traditional Religious Education classes in Spain, which teach children the ins and outs of Catholic beliefs.
All schools will be obliged to undertake the “organizational measures” necessary to offer the alternative to its pupils, ensuring that no pupils will be discriminated against whether they choose one option or the other. This means that whether or not a student has studied Religious Education will no longer be taken into account when he or she applies for a place at university or a higher education grant.
The other main change in the schools’ curricula is in the number of hours dedicated to teaching language, maths and foreign languages. According to the new decree, from next year onwards pupils will receive 45 hours more maths tuition and 25 hours less of Spanish language and literature. A new subject called Citizenship and Human Rights Education will be introduced into the timetable of the fifth or sixth primary years.