the subject of Philosophy has been the object of several days controversy for the place it will occupy within the new educational curricula. The Government approved this Tuesday the royal decree that establishes the organization and the minimum teachings of Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO) and has introduced at that level some changes regarding the matter that do not convince the teachers and that have provoked a more debate wide that has landed in the Congress of Deputies and in social networks.
Although it is not yet possible to know what will be the exact weight that Philosophy will have in the classroom during the next course, because the communities must make some decisions, we clarify some doubts about how the subject will be with the new educational law, the Lomloe:
Are Philosophy classes disappearing?
In recent days this subject has not only been surrounded by controversy but also by the confusion about whether or not it will disappear from classrooms. The truth is that it will not, but there are changes that, in the specific case of ESO, have fueled the discomfort of the teachers who teach the subject.
The first is that in ESO Ethics will be recovered as a compulsory subject in the fourth year, as teachers had requested since the Wert law abolished it in 2013. In exchange, with the new law a subject called Civic and Ethical Values will be taught, which teachers do not think is enough. In addition, the Government has not included the Philosophy in the list of electives that the centers offer in the fourth year and leave the decision in the hands of the autonomous communities.
Therefore, in the case of Compulsory Secondary Education, philosophy will not disappear completely (if one takes into account that it is contained in this new subject and that it may be optional in some communities), but does not recover its place as a subject with its own identity. There will be students who finish this educational stage without having studied Philosophy, as such.
In the case of Baccalaureate is reinforcedsince the subject becomes compulsory in the second year and not only in the first, as it has been until now.
Will this matter be present in Primary?
As explained by the Ministry of Education, philosophy will be present in some way both in Primary and in ESO and in Baccalaureate, taking into account that ethics is a part of philosophy.
On Primary The subject of Education in Civic and Ethical Values will be mandatory, and must be taught in 5th or 6th (the autonomous communities decide in which of these two courses).
What changes will there be in ESO?
In the THAT It will also be mandatory for all students the subject of Education in civic and ethical values, which must also be taught in a course to be determined by the autonomies and which has a block dedicated “entirely” to ethical-philosophical issues. However, teachers do not believe that this subject, which brings together many topics and is more focused on the civic sphere, can replace one that is dedicated exclusively to ethics.
In this cycle, it is also pending that the communities set the optional subjects (with the previous law, the Ministry set them), so it could happen that Philosophy remains optional, in addition to compulsory study as part of the Civic and Ethical Values subject. Several regions, such as Madrid and Cantabria, have already advanced that they will keep this subject as optional.
What the Government approved this Tuesday in the Council of Ministers is 60% of the curriculum (50% in the case of bilingual communities), but the other 40% must now be fixed by the autonomies (50% in the case of bilinguals).
How is Philosophy in Bachelor?
The Baccalaureate curriculum has not yet been approved, but, in principle, it will get the green light next week in the Council of Ministers. Education sources point out that Philosophy will be included as a compulsory subject in all high schools (Science and Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences, Arts in its two variants, and General).
In the first, Philosophy will be studied and in the second History of Philosophy, in all modalities.
How was it regulated before?
This subject has been going through some ups and downs for years to the rhythm of the different educational reforms. The great change, to the detriment of Philosophy, was the one that took place between the LOE (of 2006) and the Lomce (of 2013). With the first, promoted by the PSOE, the subject Education for Citizenship and Human Rights was compulsory in ESO, which was studied in one of the first three years. In addition, in the 4th year Ethics was also compulsory, while in the case of Baccalaureate, Philosophy was compulsory in both courses.
In 2013, however, known as Wert’s law (approved by the Popular Party) ended with the Education for the citizenship and with the Ethics of 4º of the ESO. In compensation, she did set the subject of Philosophy, called that, as an elective in the fourth year.
With the Lomce, Philosophy also ceased to be compulsory in the 2nd year of Baccalaureate.
What was the political commitment?
Part of the controversy generated has to do with the fact that In 2018, the Congress of Deputies will unanimously approve a non-law proposal promoted by Podemos in which all the groups expressed their will for Philosophy to become compulsory again in the two Baccalaureate courses, as will happen in the next course, and for there to be a specific Ethics subject in the fourth year of ESO That was also mandatory.
The latter, as such, will not happen, and has been a setback for many.
What do teachers think about the subject?
The professors of Ethics and the different platforms in defense of Philosophy have expressed their outrage at the mistreatment that, they say, their subject suffers in the case of Compulsory Secondary Education. They consider that the new curriculum is a “setback” to the political commitment that was reached in 2018 and they believe that it is not enough to reinforce the subject in Baccalaureate because not all students reach that level of training.
From your point of view, it is very important that ethics have more presence in ESO to guarantee that all students receive those values that they consider fundamental for their education and for their future.
What has the Ministry of Education said after the controversy?
Education sources argue that the presence of Philosophy, “in the international comparison, in its various subjects, is the most numerous in Spain” and maintain that there are no other countries around us where there are two common subjects (of at least three hours per week, that is, 10% of school hours) of Philosophy in Baccalaureate or teachings that lead to the University.
However, they remember that the design of the curriculum is “a zero sum operation”, that is, “what some subjects gain is equivalent to what others lose”. Therefore, they say, extending the timetable for one subject requires reducing the timetable for others.
For her part, the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Pilar Alegría, pointed out this Wednesday in Congress that the educational curricula that the Government is changing are “the same” that the most advanced countries in the world are using in terms of education. Furthermore, in relation to Philosophy and in reply to Vox he claimed: “Philosophy does not disappear and it will be very useful for boys and girls to understand denialism and populism, where you feel especially comfortable”.