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This is how History of Spain will be studied in institutes: the axis will be the road to democracy and the “diversity” of national sentiments will be addressed


The Ministry of Education has redesigned the subject of History of Spain, compulsory in the second year of Baccalaureate, giving a twist to the contents elaborated in the time of the former minister of the PP José Ignacio Wert that are still in force. The draft of the new subject, to which EL PAÍS has had access, has as its main axis the “complex path” traveled by the country towards democracy. It addresses the “identity diversity” in terms of “national sentiment” and, in addition, analyzes the influence of ideologies and religious beliefs on the political evolution of the State, focusing on the “great structural reforms” undertaken by the Second Republic and the “reactions antidemocratic ”that they generated, the coup, the Civil War and the Franco dictatorship. The draft also examines Spanish economic progress and its chiaroscuro, living and working conditions, the role of women, traditionally overshadowed, and the weight of geography in the country’s historical evolution over the centuries, among others.

The draft of the Spanish History curriculum (that is, what students should learn and how to evaluate it) will now be analyzed by the communities, so that they can express their opinion, before being published as a royal decree in the coming weeks with those of the rest of the Baccalaureate subjects. It is planned to be implanted in the course 2023 – 2024 and will be taught at least two hours a week, a schedule that the autonomies can extend.

Its structure is double, chronological and thematic, and ranges from ancient times to almost our days, concentrating especially on the last two centuries. Classes must contextualize the history of Spain with what was happening in the rest of the world, the curriculum indicates, to avoid “falling into a singular image of its historical evolution, based on myths and stereotypes such as the black legend.” Among its objectives is that students be able to form “their own judgments argued in reliable sources and in contrasted historical works, which avoid misinformation and promote dialogue.” And that they learn to “assess the successes, achievements and progress” achieved by the country “until reaching the current state of society and law on which our democratic coexistence is based, but also the difficulties, behaviors, actions and setbacks that have marked in time is traumatic and painful situations, which society as a whole must know in order to overcome them ”. Throughout the course, the kids will carry out their own research project, connected as far as possible with their environment.

These are the main blocks in which the subject is organized, which, As is now the case with the PP regulations, it is the only one focused exclusively on the History of Spain during secondary education.

The advancement of freedoms

The educational reform in Spain is going in the same direction as those underway in other developed countries, following the path indicated by the OECD. They try to change the traditional model, usually described as encyclopedic, for another called competence. Its objective is not so much that students can repeat content in an exam (for example, to cite one of those that appear in the current Spanish History curriculum, “the main reform projects of the Count-Duke of Olivares”), as that they are able to apply the knowledge learned, relating them to each other and to the real world. The end, sums up Cosme Gómez, professor of Didactics at the University of Murcia and one of the experts who has reviewed the new Spanish History curriculum, is for students to learn in a more “meaningful and profound” way. An aspiration that, however, the teacher warns, will come to nothing if, in addition to renewing the curriculum, there is no significant change in the type of training that teachers receive.

For now, the new The History of Spain curriculum is organized around what its authors consider to be the major issues “of interest in the present, which define the strategies for learning from the past and which are relevant to guide our future”.

“Freedom”, the document continues, “constitutes the first of those backbone axes”, offering “a non-linear perspective that crosses the entire contemporary era to the present day”. The bloc starts with the Constitution of Cádiz of 1812, advances by comparing the regimes that followed one another “since the end of absolutism and the reign of Elizabeth II until the Restoration and the Constitution of 1931 ″, and reaches the Constitution of 1978, “beginning of the longest and longest lasting stage of peaceful and democratic coexistence in the history of Spain.” The curriculum appeals to encourage dialogue and respect in students for “ideas different from their own”.

Diversity of identities

“The The coexistence of identities, especially those that have to do with national sentiment, is one of those that currently arouses the most interest and that has caused the most tension in Spanish society in recent decades ”, the document states. Students will learn “the origin and evolution of Spanish nationalism in the 19th century”, linked to the “construction of the national state”, as well as those of “sub-state nationalisms and regionalisms”. The curriculum intends for students to become “aware of the role they play at present, to respect the feelings of belonging, the existence of multiple identities and the norms and symbols established by our common framework of coexistence.”

Clase de Historia de España en el instituto público Benicalap, en Valencia.
Spanish History class at the Benicalap public institute, in Valencia. Mònica Torres

Progress and gaps

The study of the modernization of the country will incorporate “a critical look at the idea of ​​progress”, since, he points out, economic growth has not had “among its priorities the distribution of wealth and its environmental effects.” Contents include the structure of land ownership, colonial trade and industrialization in Spain.

Living conditions

Students will study the demographic evolution, changes in “levels and ways of life”, working conditions, territorial imbalances and “unequal access to resources, rights and power”. It is recommended to use literature and cinema, especially in this block, to bring it closer to the students.

Ideology, Republic and Francoism

The students will analyze “The role of beliefs and ideologies in social articulation” and the configuration of “political projects”. “It is of particular interest due to its historical significance and the intense social debate that it provokes,” the text points out, “the reformist and democratizing process that the Second Republic undertook, as well as the anti-democratic reactions that were generated before its advance and the coup d’état that it was the end ”. The Civil War and the Franco regime, he continues, “show the degree of violence that conflicts and the consequences of the dictatorial use of power can acquire. Traumatic and painful experiences that must be rigorously known so that they never happen again. ”


The subject sets the goal of providing students a “spatial and cartographic” vision that allows them to understand the importance of geography in the history of the country since the arrival of the first Mediterranean civilizations to the peninsular coasts. The section includes an analysis of the current role of Spain in the world.

Gender inequality

To understand the current situation regarding equality of gender and the “challenges of the future”, the students will analyze “the mechanisms of domination, control, subordination and submission” maintained over women throughout history. They will study the leading role that, despite the barriers, some of them had, the role of feminist movements in the modernization of the country and its “antagonists”, to promote “informed attitudes towards the secular situation of inequality between men and women.”

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