• Demands include end to religion courses and 1979 agreement with Vatican
• Unions, teachers’ associations join call for ‘Electoral Pledge’ from parties
A coalition of 50 groups in favor of secularization of Spain’s education system have called on the country’s political parties to pledge to remove religion from the classroom and to rescind a 1979 agreement signed between Spain and the Vatican.
Chanting La escuela a enseñar, los curas a rezar (Schools for teaching, priests for praying), Presupuestos para educación, no para religión (Budget for education, not for religion) and other slogans, representatives of 50 labour unions, teachers’ organizations, agnostic, atheist and some grassroots Catholic organizations rallied in front of the Congress in Madrid and called on the parties to sign an “Electoral Contract” that would guarantee a secular education system after the Dec. 20th elections.
Currently, primary and secondary school students must choose between either Social-Civic Values or Catholic Religion courses, the latter’s curriculum approved by the Catholic Bishops Council in accordance with the 1979 agreement with the church.
The organizations say they want to see an entirely secular public school system for all pupils, with government spending prioritized toward that secular and away from church-sponsored coursework and church-runs schools.