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Religious instruction in State schools

The principle is affirmed in the Constitution, in the texts concerning education, and is governed by the agreements and agreements of cooperation. There are several points that should be highlighted.
On the one hand, inserting this text into the Constitution is a result of the PSOE and it marked the recognition of a liberal and pacifying conception of religious freedom.
The different religions that can be taught at school are Catholicism, of course, and the three main religious minorities. In a way, we find ourselves in a sort of recognised religions system, however, because of Catholicism’s earlier influence and the recent nature of the convenios and the difficulty in applying them, this measure, for the time being, seems to mainly benefit the Catholic Church.
The status of this education recently changed, after the Ley de Calidad de la Educación of 23 December 2002 was adopted. Previously, it was non-mandatory instruction, as outlined in the laws of 1980 and 1985 which reaffirm the individual’s right to this type of instruction and the State’s obligation to guarantee this right.
The Ley de Calidad introduced the creation of a new mandatory course, from primary school to the end of secondary school, entitled "Society, Culture and Religion". It has two versions, both of which are graded. The first is denominational, in line with the religion chosen by the parents or students according to the obligations subscribed by the State, the second one is non-denominational.
Religious instruction conformed to what was established in the Agreement on instruction and cultural affairs (1979) signed between the Holy See and the State as far as Catholicism is concerned, and to what is outlined in the other signed agreements, or that could be signed with the other religions.
The government will establish the common curriculum for the non-religious option. The curriculum for the religious option is the responsibility of the competent religious authorities.
What about religion teachers? Catholic religion teachers are appointed by the academic authority from a list submitted by the bishops. No teacher shall be obligated to teach these types of classes, but at the nursery and primary level preference will be given to the teachers who are already present and interested in doing so. In any case, the teachers will be a part of the teaching staff of the centres involved.
For the three minority religions, the content of the agreements, which is similar, lacks precision. It states that the teachers will be chosen by the Churches involved, without mentioning their status.
These are the principles and texts concerning the freedom of instruction and relations between religions and schools of the recent democracy of Spain. According to the facts, it is obvious that things are a little more complicated, and in concrete terms, there are still many obstacles, especially for members of minority religions, before they are able to access all of the rights of modern citizenship concerning education. The intensity of these obstacles is often linked to the country’s political situation.

D 13 September 2012    AClaude Proeschel

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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