Spain: Far Right seeks to ban educational content

published 22 January 2020 updated 29 January 2020

Education unions have condemned the "parental PIN" that the Spanish ultra-right wing is promoting in a bid to undermine equality and diversity education in schools.

The so-called "parental PIN" has ignited a heated debate in the Spanish education community. The proposal was put forward by the far-right Vox party, which suggested that parents oppose progressive content in complementary school activities, preventing their children from attending (for example, talks on sexual and emotional diversity). The far-right party, which managed to secure 52 members of the 350-strong Spanish Parliament in the last elections in November, has imposed this option to cast its vote in the formation of the Murcia government, thereby placing education at the centre of a debate on rights and freedoms.

Union Opposition

Spanish education unions (including Fesp-UGT and FECCOO, member organisations of Education International) are strongly opposing to this move. Together with other organisations gathered at the Nationwide Platform for State Education (PlataformaEstatalpor la EscuelaPública), they signed a manifesto last November opposing the ban on content about diversity and freedom in schools.

They accuse the far right of trying to "influence, condition and monitor the educational projects of schools, their yearly programme and even the legally regulated powers of the collegiate bodies, or their teachers, as established in the Education Act". They condemn this interference in the autonomy of educational centres as censorship, noting that the hate speech promoted by some sectors of the far right goes against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Articles 1 and 2), the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Article 21), the Spanish Constitution and several Spanish laws.

The trade unions have called for the Ministry of Education to intervene. Last week, the Ministry announced that it will launch the "parental PIN" in the region of Murcia. "The idea that families should know in advance and grant permission to their children is a hidden conscientious objection that could be applied to curricular content and goes against Spanish legislation", Minister Celaá told the newspaper El País.