Curriculum changes in schools next academic year no longer obligatory

Education minister announces decision on second day of teachers' strike

Teachers protesting in Barcelona on second day of education sector strike on March 15, 2022 (by Gerard Escaich Folch)
Teachers protesting in Barcelona on second day of education sector strike on March 15, 2022 (by Gerard Escaich Folch) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 16, 2022 12:06 PM

Schools in Catalonia will not have to implement curriculum changes next academic year if they do not want to, Catalan education minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray announced on Wednesday, the second day of the teachers' strike.  

Cambray, who was prevented from attending the Education Sector Fair's inaugural event by protesters, made this change public from the education department headquarters in Barcelona and asked union representatives to return to the negotiating table.

"We need dialogue and consensus," the minister stressed, acknowledging the "fatigue felt by teachers and society as a whole after two years of Covid."

Despite the curriculum changes in schools no longer being obligatory, the Catalan education minister announced that some centers will still apply the modifications

The contentious curriculum changes are determined by the new Spanish education law, LOMLOE, which will implement changes such as a reduced number of teaching hours for specific subjects, a focus on language learning and the development of technological skills, and even modify the grading scale. Another measure that has angered teachers is the move to start the academic year a week earlier and to have younger children only have class in the morning in September.  

The minister announced on Wednesday that authorities had received up to 500 appeals to change the law and that the department would study them to "improve" the initial proposal, he said. 

LOMLOE was scheduled to come into effect in odd primary and secondary school year levels. Some of the suggestions, which will be disclosed in the coming weeks, are to recover certain subjects that are set to disappear or to re-schedule the number of hours of some classes. 

The announcement has not stopped the strike from continuing as the proposals by the Catalan minister "are not enough," the USTEC-STEs-IAC teaching union, the largest education union in Catalonia, said at the start of the demonstration at the Estació de Sants train station in Barcelona. 

In Girona, hundreds of teachers protested the education sector changes. 

"We don't want the new curriculums to be delayed, we want them to be debated on and agreed upon with the education community, especially those of us who are in classrooms every day and understand what is needed," Glòria Polls, from the USTEC, said to several media outlets. 

Wednesday was the second day of massive protests in the Catalan capital after 22,000 people demonstrated in Barcelona on Tuesday. Teachers have called for a five-day strike in March against the proposed education sector changes.

In Barcelona, up to 10,000 people gathered on Wednesday to protest the changes. Some arrived at the Education Sector Fair, in the Barcelona Fira exhibition center and tried to access it. However, after heavily pushing a fence they were not able to enter the congress and left. 

According to Cambray, only 14% of public school teachers and 7% of semi-public school teachers went on strike on Wednesday, down from the 33% and 8%, respectively, seen a day earlier. The education department later increased the figure to 15% from public schools and 8% from semi-public schools