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New subjects and schedules in Spain's ESO

December 27, 2021

Original Article:

The original article requires translation.

The draft decree of Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO) , to which EL PAÍS has had access, establishes the curriculum of the subjects to be studied in this stage. It also establishes the minimum hours that must be given for each of the 19 subjects in the institutes.

This is the allocation of hours set by the Government, which must be completed by the autonomous communities (those that have a co-official language will decide 50% and those that do not have it, 40%). The document includes news, such as the training of students in the history of feminism and the rights of LGTBI + people, along with the redefinition of more classical elements, such as the scientific and digital literacy of students. The changes will begin to take place next year.

Education in ethical and civic values
The new subject introduced by the Celaá law is justified in the subject's curriculum as "a necessary requirement both for the active and responsible exercise of citizenship, as well as for the development of moral autonomy and the personality of the students." The subject aims for students to become "aware of their personal and cultural identity" and adopt "an attitude consistent with the interconnected and eco-dependent nature of their life in relation to the environment" in a "free, plural, fair and peaceful society."

The subject should serve for students to become "aware of the struggle for effective gender equality and the problem of violence and exploitation of women, through the analysis of the various waves and currents of feminism and prevention measures of inequality, violence and discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, also showing knowledge of LGTBIQ + rights and recognizing the need to respect them ”.

The subject, which will be studied in one of the high school courses, comes to occupy the space of Education for Citizenship, the subject created by the PSOE in 2006 that was later eliminated by the PP. It will also address, among other issues, "multiculturalism, social inclusion and respect for diversity and ethnic-cultural identities", affective-sexual education, the "challenge of artificial intelligence" and the climate emergency.

After having studied in at least one of the first three courses of ESO the subject Technology and Digitization, in the fourth year students will be able to choose, as an optional, between one of its two branches. This, Digitization, aims to delve into the “digital literacy” of young people, providing knowledge and technical skills, but also teaching them to use technological means “in an ethical, responsible, safe and critical way”.

Within the block of knowledge called “critical digital citizenship”, students will learn about “digital etiquette”, intellectual property, digital journalism and communication strategies, tools to detect false news, electronic commerce, cryptocurrencies and algorithmic biases.

Biology and geology
The new curriculum of the subject seeks to “instill the importance of sustainable development, awaken curiosity, critical attitude, scientific thinking and skills, valuing the role of science, equal opportunities between genders and promoting, especially among the female students, scientific vocations ”. Despite being the majority in high school and university, women are a minority in their scientific and technological branches .

The autonomous communities will decide in which courses the subject is taught, designed to lay "the minimum bases for scientific literacy." In first, second and third of ESO, students must study either this subject or Physics and Chemistry. Both subjects will be optional in fourth.

The Biology and Geology curriculum aims for students to learn to locate, interpret and transmit scientific information, detect and reject "hoaxes and conspiracy theories", apply the scientific method in research projects, solve problems, geologically analyze the relief and phenomena such as global warming.

His classes will also deal with the "differentiation between sex and sexuality" and "the importance of respect for sexual freedom", promoting "the rejection of discriminatory attitudes based on gender." Students will be informed about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, as well as “the importance of their prevention through the use of condoms and responsible sexual practices”. And it will promote, among other points, the "rejection of certain urban practices" that destroy natural heritage.

Spanish language and Literature
The objective of the subject is to train students in an “adequate oral and written interaction in different areas and contexts and in function of different communicative purposes, as well as with the promotion of the reading habit, the interpretation of literary texts and the appropriation of a cultural heritage ”. The course aims to "promote an ethical use of language that puts words at the service of democratic coexistence, the dialogue resolution of conflicts and the construction of personal and social ties based on respect and equal rights of all people."

The curriculum foresees that the students know the “linguistic and dialect diversity of their environment”, of Spain and the world and “favor attitudes of appreciation to said diversity”. Learning to read will not be limited to literary works, as it happened, the document points out, for centuries, but together with them will be taught to read "all kinds of texts, with different reading purposes", as well as to "navigate and search the web, select reliable information, prepare it and integrate it into its own schemes ”.

As in the new primary regulations, secondary mathematics is also set as an objective to give students “social-emotional skills” that allow them to overcome the rejection that a part of them feel towards the discipline. And that are based, the document points out, on "preconceived ideas related to gender or the myth of indispensable innate talent." The curriculum urges teachers to incorporate a “gender perspective” into the subject, for example making students aware of the contributions that women have made to the discipline “throughout history and today”.

The curriculum raises the discipline as a basic tool for "the mastery of space and time, the organization and optimization of resources, shapes and proportions, the ability to anticipate and control uncertainty", the use of technology, "reasoning , argumentation, communication, perseverance, decision-making or creativity ”.

Geography and history
The course aims to train students in historical thinking and geographic thinking through "varied resources, including digital ones", as well as contextualize learning, and relate it to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and values ​​such as solidarity and social cohesion, respect for cultural diversity, heritage conservation, and "the defense of real equality between women and men and the fight against discrimination."

The subject will be compulsory throughout the stage. It will start in the first year of ESO with prehistory and will reach the contemporary world in fourth grade. But at all levels there will be a block called Challenges of the current world in which "the challenges and problems of the present and of the local and global environment" will be addressed. Among them, global warming, the concentration of wealth, urban agglomerations and depopulation of rural areas, migratory movements, discrimination "against girls and women in the world", "gender roles and their manifestation in all areas of society ”, as well as“ international tensions, clashes and alliances between civilizations ”.

Physics and chemistry
The Physics and Chemistry curriculum shares certain characteristics with that of Biology and Geology: both are presented as continuations of what was learned in primary school in Knowledge of the Natural Environment and as an initiation to the “scientific literacy” of the students. Physics and Chemistry emphasizes that the subject has "a decisive role to understand the functioning of the universe and the laws that govern it", as well as to allow students "to function with grounded criteria in a world in continuous scientific development, technological, economic and social ”.

The document raises learning situations aimed at the student developing skills "beyond memorizing content." "Only in this way", he points out, "will he be able to develop scientific thinking to face the possible problems of the society that surrounds him and enjoy a deeper knowledge of the world."

Foreign language
The Foreign Language curriculum (which in practice is normally English) aims to provide students with an “appropriate communicative competence” in a foreign language. But it also addresses "the historical and intercultural aspects that lead to knowing, valuing and respecting linguistic and cultural diversity, and contribute to the ability to exercise an independent, active and committed citizenship with a democratic society."

The subject will be studied in all courses and should allow students "to function better in digital environments and access the cultures conveyed through the foreign language, both as an engine of training and learning and as a source of information and enjoyment."

Personal and professional training and guidance
This new high school subject, which will be offered as an elective in the fourth year, combines knowledge from various disciplines, such as psychology, anthropology and sociology. Its design, according to the curriculum, aims to help students to better understand their personal qualities and, from that basis, to decide more fully how they want to continue training once they have finished compulsory secondary school. And, finally, give them tools to function better in the future in the job market.

For this reason, the curriculum proposes, in addition to the students deepening their self-knowledge, “train” their “personal and social skills” and offer them an “approach to the active search for employment”.

Economy and entrepreneurship
The objective of the subject is to give students "economic and financial knowledge that allows them to be informed and to carry out an adequate management of individual and collective resources, thus helping to promote improvement in their quality of life, progress and social well-being".

In addition to explaining to the kids “the elements and rules that explain economic events”, and the figure of the entrepreneur, the new curriculum highlights the importance of projecting on the subject “values ​​related to solidarity between people, the management of resources and inequality, and sustainability ”. Throughout the course (the subject can be studied in the fourth year of ESO as an elective), students will transfer “learning to a practical level developing an entrepreneurial project that covers the entire process, from ideation to the development of the final prototype and presentation of this in the environment ".

The subject, elective in the fourth year of ESO, is for part of the students "the only contact during their compulsory schooling with certain aspects of the Latin language, culture and civilization that constitute the foundations of our current society." Between first and third, the institutes must also offer Classical Culture, but it is another optional.

The curriculum is organized around the language and other elements of Latin culture and civilization, and seeks to relate them to the present.

Physical education
The subject's objective is for students to “consolidate an active lifestyle, establish knowledge of their own corporality, enjoy cultural manifestations of a motor nature” and “integrate eco-socially responsible attitudes”. The curriculum is committed to providing students with skills in the practice of sport and also on motivation and interpersonal relationships, so that they learn "to manage their emotions and social skills in varied contexts of motor practice." This is intended to contribute to their physical, "social" and mental health.

The new curriculum sets the objective that music contributes to the "cognitive, emotional and psychomotor development of students" through elements such as listening and viewing performances, attention, memory, vocal and instrumental practice, fine psychomotor development, improving breathing and body position, as well as bringing students closer to musical production.

Plastic, visual and audiovisual education
The subject covers “all the dimensions of the image: plastic, photographic, cinematographic and media, among others”. The curriculum highlights that, in addition to knowledge and techniques, art is based on other bases that "do not exclude the irrational, random or unforeseen, personal emotion, and involve communication through empathy."

The subject will be organized in four blocks: "Artistic and cultural heritage", "formal elements of the image and visual language", "artistic and graphic expression" and "image and visual and audiovisual communication".

Artistic expression
The subject, an elective in the fourth year of ESO, has several axes: knowledge of the main artistic techniques, and "the development of expressive capacity, creativity, divergent thinking, experimentation and innovation." The three blocks into which it is organized are: "Graphic-plastic techniques, Design and advertising, and Photography, audiovisual and multimedia language."

Second foreign language
The curriculum of the subject starts from the idea that the objective when learning languages ​​should not be so much the “command of one, two or more languages ​​considered in isolation, but rather the enrichment of the individual linguistic repertoire and the development of the multilingual and intercultural profile. made up of different levels of competence in different languages ​​that change according to the interests and needs of each moment ”. And on that basis the offer of the subject is based that, if the communities decide, the students will be able to study throughout the entire secondary school.

Technology and Digitization
The curriculum presents the subject as "the basis for understanding the profound changes taking place in an increasingly digitized society." In addition to learning content and techniques, the curriculum is focused on teaching a “critical, responsible and sustainable use of technology”. The goal is for students to learn to solve problems, communicate and disseminate ideas, give them knowledge of robotics and computational thinking and help them navigate their digital environment. It must be studied in at least one year between first and third of ESO.

The subject can be studied in the fourth, and in addition to providing technical teachings, it aims to give students knowledge about economic and social aspects related to technological development, automation and robotization, both in jobs and in other fields of life. In the study of issues such as manufacturing processes and material selection, the perspective of sustainability should be integrated.


The Religion curriculum is designed by the Church, in application of the agreement between the State and the Holy See, and therefore it is not included at the moment in the draft decree prepared by the Ministry of Education. The first version published by the Episcopal Conference implies a progressive turn in the content of the subject with respect to the current curriculum. The subject will be optional, it will not have a mirror subject and your grades will not count when applying for a place in a career or other degree or requesting a scholarship.

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