Spain/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education
8.3.3 Intercultural education
From the academic year 2007-2008, "Education for citizenship and human rights" is part of the general school curricula. There was strong opposition from families with children in religious schools and the Catholic Church, of the opinion that the state should not introduce a compulsory subject aimed at the moral upbringing of students. The subject focuses on the improvement of reciprocal understanding and the promotion of tolerance. The new subject is being applied to primary and secondary levels by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. However, the draft act on education that is being prepared by the Popular Party plans the replacement of this subject by a course on "Civic and Constitutional Education". The draft act also plans the establishment of an alternative to the compulsory subject of "Religion" in primary and secondary levels. Thus, students at primary level choose between "Religion" or its alternative, "Social or Cultural Values", and secondary students, between "Religion" or "Ethical Values".
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. As well as this general programme, the Ministry has run other intercultural education projects such as:
- the Arabic Language and Moroccan Culture Learning Programme has the following objectives: to teach Moroccan culture and the Arabic language to Moroccan pupils who are being taught in the Spanish public educational centres; to integrate these pupils into the Spanish educational system and to promote intercultural education. There are two systems: in schools with few Moroccan pupils, teaching is provided outside school time and there is one Moroccan teacher for several schools; when schools have a large number of Moroccan students, teaching is provided during school time and there is usually one teacher for each school.
- 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 regions (those with large numbers of Portuguese students).
- The Immigrant Service Programme aims to favour the incorporation of pupils from foreign countries in the educational system, especially those of compulsory school age. Although the education of immigrant pupils is the responsibility of the autonomous communities, except in the case of the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, the Ministry has designed a number of interventions of a general nature to provide supplementary attention to immigrant pupils to aid their integration in the system (for more details about the attention to immigrant pupils in the Spanish educational system see: http://www.doredin.mec.es/documentos/00820072000048.pdf).
- Among the activities carried out as part of the Educational Programme for the Gypsy Community are the edition of teaching materials on the subject of gypsy culture, training in intercultural mediation with the gypsy community, and initial and in-service training of teachers and others who interact with members of the gypsy community in their professional life.
- The aim of the MUS-E Programme is 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. After the signature of an agreement in 1996, between the then Ministry of Education and Culture and the Yehudi Menuhin International Foundation, the Programme was launched during the 1997/98 academic year in seven state schools in Asturias, Cantabria, Extremadura, Madrid and Murcia, situated in areas with problems of unemployment, family breakdown or social marginalisation. Special projects were introduced involving music, theatre, dance and the visual arts, coordinated by the artists, teachers and school authorities. Ten autonomous communities currently participate in the Programme (Andalusia, Basque Country, Canaries, Castile-La Mancha, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, Madrid, Murcia and Valencia) and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, together with the Ministry of Education and the Yehudi Menuhin International Foundation. During 2010, 107 state schools, 1 430 teachers and 184 artists and 17 539 children in primary, secondary and special education participated in the Programme. The overall impression of the work carried out so far is highly positive. Surveys show that the MUS-E Programme favours the integration of children in the school and in the community, raises their confidence and self-esteem, and promotes attention, discipline, creativity, tolerance, dialogue and respect for diversity.
In 2009, the Ministry of Education and the European Foundation Society for Education published the report "Intercultural Dialogue in Spain: a requirement for education and a culture of peace". It gathers more than 40 good practices in schools that transmit the values of justice, respect, peace, dialogue and coexistence (see more: http://www.sociedadyeducacion.org:80/instituto/docs/publicaciones/ebooks/ebinformeintercultural.pdf).
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: https://www.educacion.gob.es/creade/index.do).
For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.
Chapter published: 08-03-2013