The Conversation Spain
Constitutional education, an absent and necessary subject in the classrooms
The Spanish Constitution of 1978 celebrates its anniversary every year with a pending subject: it is not studied properly either in schools or in the country’s institutes. If the Constitution is still not taught at the mandatory levels of the educational system, other generations of Spaniards will join those for whom the Magna Carta continues to be an ethereal reality of which they do not know why it continues to be so important for our political development , but also social, economic and even moral. Very aware of this were the Cadiz liberals, who introduced an original precept, 368, into the Constitution of 1812, which ordered “to explain the political Constitution of the Monarchy in all Universities and literary establishments where ecclesiastical and political sciences are taught.” Nicolás Garelli, Ramón Salas, Eudald Jaumeandreu or Miguel García de la Madrid – to quote some of the first professors of the Constitution of Spain – argued that our first Constitution should be taught to those who were called to live under it so that they would always defend it, in the same way that the ancient Greeks protected the walls of their cities. Some Ibero-American examples The Cadiz precept continues to be echoed in some Ibero-American constitutions that declare its study mandatory in their respective educational systems (in those of Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru and the Dominican Republic) In Spain, on the contrary , the exposure, analysis and examination at the mandatory levels of the educational system of the Constitution and the respective Statutes of Autonomy, that is, constitutional education, has not been adequately developed, despite the fact that article 27.2 of the Constitution establishes that “Education will have as its objective the full development of the human personality in respect for the democratic principles of coexistence and fundamental rights and freedoms”; and despite, also, that Organic Law 8/1985, of July 3, regulating the Right to Education proclaims, as a semantic constitution, that “all students have the right and duty to know the Spanish Constitution and the respective Statute of Autonomy, in order to be trained in the values and principles recognized in them ”. In Spain, constitutional education is a transversal subject –that is, it is studied little or not at all–, and it only refers to a learning standard of the subject of Social Sciences of 4th year of ESO and another standard of the subject History of Spain 2nd of Baccalaureate. All this, without prejudice to the fact that constitutional education is adequately developed in a subject, Ethical Values, which, however, is only offered as an alternative to Religion and, consequently, is attended by only a part of the students. Thus, the Law School of the University of Murcia organized in 2018 the first Constitutional Olympiad that has been held in Spain and the third in the Latin world: the Mazarrón Constitutional Olympiad. Based on its success, the Constitutional Olympiad of the Region of Murcia has been organized in 2019 and 2020. Twenty-six centers from the entire community participate in it, more than 60 secondary and university teachers and more than 1,500 students in the 4th year of ESO, who receive various constitutional education classes. And I point out well: constitutional education – and not education in values or education for citizenship. Constitutional education is – as we have advanced – training on the Constitution, that is, it does not deal with strange and unrelated contents, not even with those contents of the Magna Carta that, openly, can be politically developed in a way different and even contrary. It is about the neutral, clear and precise contents established by our fundamental text, which are identified primarily with the regulation of State institutions: General Courts, Government, Crown, Judicial Power, Constitutional Court, State of the Autonomies, institutional organization of the autonomous communities, constitutional reform and institutional organization of the European Union. The need to implement the subject of constitutional education On the occasion of the celebration of the 42nd Day of the Constitution we must remember that the fundamental rule, as an expression of the most prosperous political, social and economic project of coexistence in the entire history of Spain, must be celebrated all days and that the best way to do so is quite possibly to implement constitutional education. While this does not happen, many of us will explain the Constitution not only in the University, but also in schools and institutes through initiatives such as the Constitutional Olympiad, since we are very aware of the response that the Cortes of Cádiz gave to the request made in 1813 by Nicolás Garelli to be allowed to teach the Constitution at the University of Valencia: “No law professor needs to ask permission, his first obligation being to fully accommodate the spirit and letters of that Code.” This article was originally published in The Conversation. Read the original.Francisco Manuel García Costa does not receive a salary, nor does consulting work, nor does he own shares, nor does he receive financing from any company or organization that can benefit from this article, and he has declared that he lacks relevant links beyond the academic position aforementioned.