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Cela’s new curriculum: the contents that students learn are “lightened” and divided into “basic” and “desirable”

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“Rote and cumulative learning is no longer enough.” With these words, the Minister of Education, Isabel Cela, this Friday summarized the spirit of the new curriculum of Primary and the THAT. The Government is committed to a competitive approach where it is not so important to learn many things but to know what to do with them. The idea is to “lighten” the specific content and bet on a competence approach where learning will be divided between “basic or essential” and “desirable”. The former must be known by all students because “not having them puts them at risk of social exclusion.” The second can be expanded by students according to their “objectives, interests and needs”.

The Government wants towards a more personalized learning, more linked to the dizzying and changing challenges of the 21st century and in line with what they have done Portugal, Gales, Scotland, Finland or the Canadian province of Quebec, where the door is opened to more autonomy of the centers, to the collaborative work of the students, to the co-teaching and the grouping of subjects. So far fine. But the two basic documents of the curriculum that it handles are, according to educational sources, “loose”, “cumbersome” and “too theoretical”, “written by and for professors”. It is a return, in short, to the constructivism of the New Pedagogue who picked up the Logse Socialist 1990, full of euphemisms and little linked to the reality of the classroom.

Proof of this are the words this Friday of Csar Coll, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Barcelona and one of the Logse parents, who is part of the group of experts who are preparing the curriculum: “The important thing is not to know much, but to know what is known and what is that is not known. And, above all, to have tools to be able to learn what is not known when one has the need to know it “.

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And yet another example, expressed by Guadalupe Jover, Secondary Language and Literature teacher, also assistant in the presentation: “The success of students’ literary education should not be measured by what they have read in the years they have been in school or high school, but rather by what keep reading when you leave your doors behind and by the way you do it. ”

Coll has assured that they will not “empty of contents” the curriculum and, therefore, not lower the academic level of the students, but in the first of the founding documents of the new structure, the concept of “loss of curricular weight” is discussed. , which consists in the fact that “the encyclopedic enumerative accumulation is replaced by the deepening of knowledge that is chosen as essential”. “In this sense, the less becomes more,” says the text.

All this, in the words of Felipe de Vicente, president of the Association of Institute Professors (Ancaba), “relegates educational quality and the transmission of knowledge and skills” and advocates “a low level of demand.” “There is no reference to the transmission of knowledge and no reference to humanistic training. Everything is referred to minimum competencies,” he points out.

These are the main changes to the curriculum, which will begin to be implemented in the 2022/23 academic year:


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In Coll’s words, it will be necessary to distinguish between “really essential learning to be able to function from other learning that the more is acquired the better, but that cannot be carried out by everyone in the same way. All students will have to know the “basic or essential”, which will be included in the royal decrees of minimum education. According to another member of the expert group, Elena Martn, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology and Education at the Autonomous University of Madrid, “not having this knowledge places students at risk of social exclusion.”

The “desirable” knowledge is not very clear when, where and by whom it will be regulated, because it is not prescriptive. Martn has said that the royal decrees of minimum teachings can collect some “guiding elements”, but his mission is to focus on the “essential” knowledge. “They will appear in some cases at different times,” he said.

What seems certain is that the list of contents that students have to learn inherited from the Lomce of PP will be reduced considerably. “Encyclopedic visions do not make sense,” Coll has expressed. Jover added that the syllabi “are endless” and “content enshrined in the school routine, textbooks and exams prevail, which are individual paper and pencil tests against the clock.”

And he has also pointed out that, in a context where there is more and more diversity in schools and institutes due to the arrival of immigrants, “we cannot continue to offer the school of a few to all students.”


“It is not about teaching things about words in Language class, but about doing things about words, such as a newspaper or a documentary, a play, a round table or an assembly, or an exhibition that makes the contribution visible from women to the sciences or the arts “, has described Jover. Cela speaks of a more practical teaching, of “going down to earth”, to engage students who get bored and reduce school dropouts. The OECD has already recommended for years a teaching that uses examples attached to the daily lives of students and learning by projects is an example of this.


Jover has indicated that the school must “look face to face with the problems” and “must place itself” in the face of issues such as “inequalities”, “violence” or the “ecological crisis”. The curriculum includes a new “citizenship” competence, which says that at 16 years of age, students must have at least “the ability to act as responsible citizens and participate fully in social and civic life, based on an understanding of the concepts and social, economic, legal and political structures, as well as knowledge of world events and active commitment to sustainability and the achievement of a global citizen “.

Another competence is that of “cultural awareness and expression”, which involves “striving to understand, develop and express one’s ideas and a sense of belonging to society.” “A person will be competent to the extent that acquiring new knowledge leads him to act in the world in a different way,” says Elena Martn.

The other competencies are linguistic communication; plurynx; math and science and technology (STEM); digital; personal, social and learning to learn, and entrepreneurial.


The school will not be limited to a simple instruction, but will have an “ethical” meaning, which “contributes to raising the level of personal well-being and democratic coexistence” of the students. Cela has spoken of “building” people “capable of critical discernment”, who “know how to differentiate information from opinions” and who “incorporate digitization”.


The curriculum will detail few things and it will be left to the autonomous communities to complete between 40% and 50% of it. Educational centers will also be able to establish their own projects in an “open and flexible” model, according to Cela. The Ministry will set the “competences”, the “basic knowledge” and the “evaluation criteria”, but not for all courses. The rest will be determined by the Autonomous Communities and “the centers will be required to make decisions based on the profiles of the students” to “personalize learning”.

It will be allowed to group subjects (for example, Spanish Language and Co-official Language at the same time, as is done in the Valencian Community) and there may be two teachers within the same class in what is called co-teaching. Students will be able to learn with projects and other alternative methodologies to the master class.


Dolores Lpez, General Director of Evaluation and Territorial Cooperation of the Ministry of Education, responds that “from the LOE the evaluation instruments are varied”. “Another thing is that they have structured around exams, which favored the Lomce with its learning standards, which were very pigeonholed and squared, with their grade and punctuation,” he added.

“As for scoring or if it has to be numerical or with qualitative characteristics, as it could be in Primary the Properly progress or the Needs improvement, we are working on it and we have not made any decisions yet. “

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