The Organic Law of Modification of the Organic Law of Education (Lomloe) approved this Wednesday in the Senate contains direct changes in the educational system.
Among them, those aimed at balancing the distribution of underprivileged students between public and concerted networks (which will come into force between next year and the next), the recovery of curricular diversification programs and the limitation of repetitions (which will be will apply in both cases from the next academic year), and the disappearance of the alternative subject to Religion, which will also cease to count for the record (which will enter into force with the introduction of the new ordination and curricula, between the 2022-2023 academic years and 2023-2024).
But the law also includes mandates for the government to transform fundamental aspects of the system, such as curricula – what should be taught in a subject and how teachers should evaluate student learning – the way students are trained and access public places. teachers, and the great deployment of early childhood education from zero to three years, which today reaches 37% of children. These are its main lines and the expected deadlines.
The school curricula of an educational stage (the contents and the evaluation criteria) are in Finland, one of the main educational references in the world, a few “little books”, says Alejandro Tiana, Secretary of State for Education.
In Spain, on the other hand, if they were published, they would constitute difficult to handle monstrosities of more than a thousand pages. The new resumes will be much shorter and less encyclopedic.
“They will trust more in the teaching staff and in their judgment about what they should do to develop them. The current ones is as if they had to tell teachers absolutely everything they should do, ”says Tiana.
The current curricula are, according to experts such as Francisco Luna, former director of the Basque Institute of Evaluation, so exhaustive that they generate “boredom in many students and frustration in many teachers”, by not being able to complete them no matter how much they run during the course.
The idea is to give way to another model focused on the essential elements, which, as the professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Barcelona César Coll stated a few days ago in a debate on the reform of the curriculum, renounces “to try to satisfy all the needs of learning in the initial stage, because each time there is more complexity and it is impossible.
And focus on strengthening the competence called learning to learn, necessary to continue training throughout your life. “Reports Like TIMSS — An International Testwhose recent results give an unfavorable image of the Spanish educational system — they highlight problems in learning mathematics from primary school.
We must change and focus on what is fundamental, without which it will be difficult for students to move forward later, ”continues Tiana. The reforms undertaken in places like Portugal, Wales and Quebec, go in the same direction.
The ministry has invited the communities to participate in the commissions that have begun to develop the basic part of the curriculum (what it knows as minimum teachings), unlike what happened in other reforms. The goal is to make the process more agile and the result more consistent.
Because once the Government sets its part, each Ministry of Education must write its part of the curriculum, which for communities with co-official languages represents 50% of the total and for those that do not have it, 45%.
The new curricula will begin to be applied, according to the law, “in the school year that begins one year after the entry into force” of the rule – that is, in the 2022-2023 academic year – in odd-numbered courses. And one later – 2023-2024 – in pairs.
This is done because in primary school the courses are organized in two-year cycles and it is considered better not to implement the reform in the middle of them. The same is true for the baccalaureate, which has two courses. In secondary school, despite not having cycles, the same progressive scheme has been chosen.
The law gives the Government one year to present, after consultation with the autonomies and the teachers’ representatives, a broad review of the teaching profession. From the training they receive at the university, to their professional career, through the competitive examinations that give access to permanent positions in public schools and institutes.
The reform of the competition system will include the renewal of the syllabi, on which there is consensus. “Some are still valid, but others, such as Informatics, are absolutely outdated,” says Pedro Andreu, from the STES union.
And the current exams will be replaced “by tests that are not primarily rote,” says Tiana. “That teachers have to know things is clear, but that the tests basically consist of showing that they know them, no.
There has to be an applied part. Currently this is covered by the schedules presented by the candidates, but it is necessary to check if it is the best way. In any case, it must be adapted to the new teaching model that we want to implement ”, he adds.
The law gives the government one year to present the plan, but that does not mean that the changes should materialize then. With regard to the oppositions, the rules will not see the light until, at least, in 2022. The changes will not apply to the calls that are then active and a subsequent transition period will be left so as not to harm those who surprise studying .
Raising the demand in access to careers in Early Childhood and Primary Education, for which now a five is enough in most cases, and the Master’s Degree in Secondary, for which it is usually enough to be a graduate, could be useful to improve the level of teachers.
But the cut-off marks are the result of the supply of places made by universities (in this case, very wide), and the demand. One possibility would be to introduce an entrance test, similar to what happens in Finland and, within Spain, in Catalonia (where around a third of applicants fail the mathematics and reading comprehension exams that it consists of).
But there is no decision made and the changes that are adopted will be the result of the negotiations that the ministry maintains with the deans of the faculties of Education.
One of the aspects that is being addressed is the need to give greater weight to practices in the training of future teachers. The intention is to go towards a model of practices supervised by practicing professors – hence the talk of MIR of the teaching staff, due to the comparison with the model of resident intern, which has given good results in medical graduates.
Before the pandemic, they were planned to last a year. But Tiana affirms that the model may be different for kindergarten and primary school teachers (who have four years of careers to distribute the practices) and those of the teacher’s master’s degree (which lasts one or two years).
The revision of the profession will include the creation of a statute of the teaching function that includes the professional career, a matter pending for decades and that in 2007, recalls Maribel Loranca, the educational manager of UGT, was frustrated due to lack of funding. Loranca defends the expansion of promotion channels, which today are very limited.
A primary school teacher can run for principal or study to become an education inspector or a secondary school teacher, but he has no chance of promoting by keeping his teaching position, if that’s what he likes to do, he notes.
In addition to introducing salary incentives, the ministry is considering incorporating others, such as offering the possibility of participating in the training of new teachers.
The Executive has 12 months to present an eight-year plan that will revolutionize the first stage of education. The ministry will approve minimum requirements (now there are only regional regulations) on the conditions that the personnel and facilities must meet.
And it will launch a plan to increase the places, which are now distributed almost equally between the public and private networks, and reach just over a third of children.
The law provided for a quiet pace – almost a decade to move “towards a sufficient and affordable public offering”. But the recovery plans, sponsored by the EU, are going to accelerate it, because an injection of more than 600 million is expected in the next three years (200 next year).
And to that amount that the Government will contribute, it will be necessary to add what is allocated by the rest of the actors involved, basically communities and municipalities.
The increase in places will be mainly public, according to the law. The objective, says Tiana, is to achieve the coverage of the most advanced communities in the whole of Spain, where it is around 55%.
“Why not 100%? Because if you are expanding maternal and paternal leave so that children can spend the first months cared for by their parents, the objective is not that from zero years all go to school ”, responds the Secretary of State. “The percentage will be lower in the first year, it will go up the next and it will be higher in the two-year classes.”