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Spain/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.3 Intercultural education

From the academic year 2007-2008to the year 2014-2015, the subject "Education for citizenship and human rights" was part of the general school curricula. There was strong opposition from families with children in religious schools and from the Catholic Church, with the argument that the state should not introduce a compulsory subject aimed at the moral upbringing of students. The subject, taught at the primary and secondary levels, focused on the improvement of reciprocal understanding and the promotion of tolerance. The new Organic Law for the Improvement of Educational Quality (8/2013 Organic Act) replaced this subject with courses on "Social and Civic Values" and "Ethical Values" at primary level from the academic year 2014-2015 on. Both subjects will be an alternative to the compulsory subject of "Religion" in primary and secondary levels, and are aimed at transmitting values that promote personal freedom, responsibility, democratic citizenship, solidarity, tolerance, equality, respect and justice, as well as help to overcome any kind of discrimination. The development of that Act in 2014 has detailed the contents of the basic curriculum of primary education, and the basic competences to be acquired in compulsory secondary education and upper secondary level.

Beyond the curricular framework, there are intercultural education programmes at the national and regional levels. At the national level, the Resource Centre for Attention to Cultural Diversity in Education (CREADE) is a Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport project, which is designed to respond to the concerns of professionals in the educational and social spheres with regard to cultural diversity and all its implications. It aims to provide a place for dialogue and reflection, where people involved in education in its broadest sense can find reference material, educational material, ICT tools, bibliographies, experiences, research and, in general, resources for educational action or social intervention from an intercultural perspective. Along with its work collecting and processing information and resources on intercultural information, and maintaining and updating its portal, CREADE organises other important lines of action: supporting research into intercultural education through the organisation of prizes and grants for research; creating a Study Committee to identify and analyse good educational practices; carrying out case studies; analysing legislation and educational policies; formulating initiatives and developing projects; providing guidance and training for educational centres and working teams; and publishing materials and resources of interest to the educational, social and cultural spheres (for more details see: As well as this general programme, the Ministry run or has run other intercultural education projects such as:

  • "The Portuguese Language and Culture Programme" aims to maintain the linguistic and cultural reference points of the children of Portuguese workers and immigrants, as well as promoting interest and respect among Spanish pupils for other cultures. In kindergarten and primary school, the teaching of Portuguese is a part of the normal curriculum, via "integrated classes" in which Portuguese and Spanish teachers teach the whole class together, or in "simultaneous classes" (in which the Portuguese teacher teaches the members of the group who have chosen to participate in the programme). Furthermore, these schools organise other complementary activities such as exchanges and study visits, cultural weeks and Portuguese Clubs. In Secondary Education, Portuguese is an optional subject and is taught by Spanish teachers. The programme only runs in several Autonomous Communities (those with large numbers of Portuguese students).
  • The International Foundation Yehudi Menuhin, cooperating with public institutions, promotes a number of programmes. For instance, the "MUS-E Programme" aims to promote the arts, especially music, song, theatre, dance and the visual arts at school, to favour the social and cultural integration of disadvantaged children, to prevent violence and racism, and to promote tolerance and harmony between different cultures. In 2013, the foundation worked with more than 18 000 people (most of them, 15 610 people, under 18 years old), 128 centres, 43 entities, 82 artists, 1 246 teachers, and 89 volunteers. Other programmes are "Art for Living Together" and "Show me Africa!".

At the regional level, there also exist numerous initiatives related to the intercultural focus of education, the reception of immigrant pupils, the implementation of organisational and curricular measures, linguistic and cultural support, attention to immigrant families and training of teaching staff (for more details about regional initiatives see:

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section

Chapter published: 24-06-2015

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