Spanish schoolchildren learn about feminist and colonial visions as part of curriculum revamp

Spain’s left-wing government has been accused of “indoctrinating” children with feminist and anti-colonial views in new textbooks.

The socialist-Podemos coalition will present its reformed program in schools in the fall.

Exercises that confront the damage wrought by the Spanish empire and challenge students to reconsider the role of women in ancient society have drawn ire from conservative opposition.

In a new philosophy textbook, students are asked to consider whether Spain should apologize for the human rights abuses that took place during the conquest of the Americas.

The exercise uses the 1552 account of the conquest of Mexico by Bartolomé de las Casa, a Catholic bishop, which describes the slaughter of indigenous peoples and how the survivors endure “the hardest servitude that man or beast has ever known. “.

Entitled “Are we responsible? he refers to contemporary thinking in Latin America that Spain should compensate nations for extracting wealth and causing such suffering.

“It’s an absurd and insidious question,” Alfredo Alvar, professor of modern history at Spain’s National Research Council (CSIC), told El Mundo newspaper. “Should Italians apologize for what Rome did?

The regional president of Madrid will carry out an audit of the new material

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico, has called on Spain to pay compensation for colonial-era looting and violence.

Amid an increasingly tense debate, Spain’s King Felipe used a visit to Puerto Rico in January to claim that the Spanish conquistadors had brought European civilization to the New World.

Isabel Díaz Ayuso, conservative regional president of Madrid, announced that her government will carry out a detailed audit of new material for the coming school year to prevent what she called “indoctrination in the classroom”.

“Any books containing sectarian material will be removed,” Ms Díaz Ayuso said.

As a countermeasure to alleged anti-colonial revisionism, Ms. Ayuso’s government is distributing a documentary in secondary schools that describes Spanish imperialism as “the first globalization” in which all indigenous peoples were granted citizenship of the kingdom.

Ms Ayuso also mocked the inclusion of a gender perspective in the curriculum, encouraging students to complete tasks such as ‘making visible the achievements of women in ancient patriarchal societies’, such as the Roman Empire. .

“Do they think the minister calls the teachers every morning?

Another new philosophy textbook notes that male philosophers have “spent 2,000 years defaming the female intellect”, citing, among others, Aristotle who said that “the male is by nature superior and the female inferior”.

Pilar Alegría, Minister of Education, defended government reform, saying the gender perspective is a key tool to challenge existing prejudices while noting a continued decline in the number of women wanting to take STEM courses at the university.

“What do they mean when they say we indoctrinate?” Ms Alegría said, noting that the government had established curriculum guidelines but had no say in the content of textbooks, which are produced externally.

“Do they think the minister calls the teachers every morning and tells them to indoctrinate?”

Edward K. Thompson