Gov’t, right-wing face off over new education legislation

The coalition gov't led by Pedro Sánchez has put forward reforms to Rajoy-era education legislation. Photo: EFE via El Diario
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The Consejo de Ministros of Spain’s new coalition government on Tuesday approved new legislation governing education in Spain that if approved by Congress will replace the previous LOMCE legislation railroaded through Congress in 2013 by the Partido Popular’s absolute majority under then-President Mariano Rajoy against the votes of all other parties represented in parliament.

Approval of the new LOMLOE law, also referred to as the “Celaá Law” after current Minister for Education and Professional Training, Isabel Celaá, is not a certainty however. Already, the Partido Popular leadership has said it will present its own law as an alternative, with some in the conservative party threatening to challenge the constitutionality of the LOMLOE law if approved by Congress, in order to tie it up in the courts and forestall its application.

► News Sources: Público, El Diario and La Vanguardia …

The new legislation would overturn controversial reválidas re-validation testing of secondary (ESO) and high-school (bachillerato) students, despite their having already earned primary, secondary or high-school diplomas granted by their regional education systems. In 2016, Rajoy was forced to postpone further reválidas testing after mass protests across Spain by students and teachers.

In addition, in an effort to guarantee equal co-educational opportunities to boys and girls nationwide, the LOMLOE law will remove government subsidies to privately run concertada schools that insist on segregating male and female students in their classrooms, a measure that will largely impact Catholic church-run schools across Spain.

The Celaá Law will also remove Religion as a mandatory subject for students, replacing it with a mandatory course for all students on “Education in Civic and Ethical Values”, a measure that is also certain to spark the ire of some Catholic educators and associations of parents of children in church-run schools.

Spanish news reports said it is likely that the new legislation will take about three months to achieve final approval by Congress, depending on efforts by right-wing parties to slow down the legislative process, and should be ready for a final vote for implementation at the start of the coming school year in September.

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