The new academic year starts with a new educational law in Primary Education.
Julio García. Madrid
More than 8,100,000 students of primary and secondary education have started the academic year 2014-2015 in the last two weeks and they have done it with a new educational law, the Organic Law for the Improvement of the Educational Quality (LOMCE in its Spanish acronym). This law, known as “Wert Law”, making reference to the surname of the Minister of Education, José Ignacio Wert, is the seventh one in Spain in the last 45 years.
The different educational regulations in Spain have always been surrounded by controversy since the Transition, both on the part of governors and on the part of the political parties and the educational community. Until now, the different governments have not been able to reach an agreement on an educational law that remains being valid in this country for more than 10 years.
During the first years of democracy in Spain, the educational law in force was passed under Franco’s dictatorship, the General Law on Education, of 1970. Ten years later, and with the Constitution of 1978 in force, the Government presided by Adolfo Suárez, of the Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD in its Spanish acronym), passed, in 1980, the Organic Law regulating the Statute of School Centres. The PSOE, in the opposition, appealed against it before the Constitutional Court, which agreed with it on several points. The review that the UCD had to do of it was paralyzed by the coup d’état on 23 February 1981 and the law never came into force.
Five years later, in 1985, the first government of the PSOE, presided by Felipe González, passed the Organic Law of the Right to Education (LODE in its Spanish acronym), which incorporated the system of state assisted schools. This legislation was followed, in 1995, by the Law Governing the Education System (LOGSE in its Spanish acronym), which introduced compulsory education until 16 years old with the Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO in its Spanish acronym). It also allowed the autonomous communities elaborating part of the educational contents.
In 2002, during the second mandate of the PP in the Government, presided by José María Aznar, the Organic Law on the Quality of the Education (LOCE in its Spanish acronym) was passed. The new text tried to reform and to improve education in Spain, but it was never implemented for being the end of the session. It was paralyzed by the first Executive presided by the socialist José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, in 2004.
Two years later, in 2006, it was precisely the Government of Rodríguez Zapatero the one that passed the Organic Law of Education (LOE in its Spanish acronym). He had the support of all the parties represented at the Congress of Deputies, except for the PP, which voted against it, and IU, who abstained. The controversy about this law appeared when religion was established as a voluntary subject being mandatory for the centres to offer it. It also introduced the new subject Education for Citizenship, to the detriment of Language and Literature. The PP considered that this subject indoctrinated the student morally.
The LOMCE means the reform of two previous educational laws, the LOE and the LOGSE
Finally, the new Organic Law for the Improvement of the Educational Quality, inaugurated now by the Spanish students, was passed in 2013. It was promoted by the PP and it means the reform of two previous educational laws, the LOE and the LOGSE, elaborated by socialist governments. The opposition and part of the educational community reject the new regulations being against the academic validity of the subject of religion and the resit of external tests or final examinations. The Minister Wert has received many requests for resignation because of this legislation in the last year.
The LOMCE will be implemented this academic year 2014-2015 in 1st, 3rd and 5th grade of Primary Education at the 9,861 school centres offering this educational stage. In all, there are 28,064 educational centres in Spain, of which 19,054 are public centres and 9,010 are private centres, according to a report of the Ministry of Education.
The study highlights that in the last years, the foreign student body has started to decrease in non-university education, since it has fallen from 781,236 students in the academic year 2011-2012 to 731,167 in the last academic year. Other interesting data are that during the last five years, education at 17 and 18 years old has increased more than 10 points and that, after finishing compulsory education, the access to post-compulsory secondary education and higher education has increased.