Valencia offers controversial school subject in English

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Valencia comes up with alternative plan for compulsory Civic Education class by making the schools teach the language in English.

22 May 2008

MADRID - After fiercely criticising the government's plans to force all students to take a new Civic Education class for the last few months, Valencia's conservative administration said on Wednesday that it would make schools in the region teach the subject - in English.

The plan, unveiled on Wednesday by Alejandro Font de Mora, the head of the Valencian education department, would allow students to opt between a weekly Civic Education class, following the government's curricula but taught in English, and a term coursework project focusing on one chapter of Civic Education, also taught in English.

"We're offering a Plan B... that is respectful of families' wishes," Font de Mora said.

Catholics and conservatives, including many education officials in regions such as Valencia that are governed by the opposition Popular Party, are highly critical of Civic Education, a subject that they claim has been "invented" by the Socialist Party to impart the party's moral and political doctrine. It covers issues such as ethics, gender equality and homosexual marriage.

While Valencia has opted to teach the subject in English - and has said it will hire more English-speaking teachers to do so - other PP-governed regions such as Madrid are opting to give objecting parents the right to pull their children from class.

The government has said it will take any region that does not make the subject obligatory for all high school students to court.

[El Pais / Ángeles Espinosa / Expatica]

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