By Vatican News
Spain’s Catholic schools are appealing to the government to ensure the right to freedom of education enshrined in the country’s legislation.
They made this appeal in the wake of the debates surrounding the new legislation on education approved by the Spanish government last March. The new law, also known as “LOMLOE” (Ley Orgánica de Modificación de la LOE) is the organic act of modification of the LOE, the previous education law.
LOMLOE is a reform of the education system that addresses issues like early drop-out and grade repetition. However, it recommends that religious education no longer be compulsory for students in the first and second years of high school. Besides, marks obtained in religious education will no longer count for admission into universities or for obtaining scholarships.
In the place of religious instruction, education in civic and ethical values will be compulsory for all primary and secondary school students.
Appeal of Catholic schools
Expressing their concern, Spanish Catholic schools point out that the education reforms might “stifle teaching in private schools, making it subsidiary to that of public schools.”
To guarantee the right to freedom of education, the Catholic schools hold that “it is necessary to devise “systems of public funding” for private schools. This proposal rejoins the 12 June 2018 resolution of the European Parliament which encourages governments to “provide adequate financial support for all schools - private and public, within the framework of inclusiveness and respect for freedom of educational choice.”
Catholic schools insist that it is necessary to “overcome differences and conflicts in order to achieve an educational pact that promotes complementarity of public and private systems.”
They call for a “broad social debate” that recognizes that diversity of schools “reflects the plurality of European societies.” The Catholic schools also point out that though public education in Spain is important, it should not be the only type of education available.
Education in Spain
Catholic schools account for roughly 15% of the total education system and 58% of subsidized private education.