The dictatorship of Primo de Rivera came to an end in 1930. Primo de Rivera, who had come to power in 1923 after a defeat of the Spanish troops in Morocco, lost support of the army in 1930, when the regime had to face growing problems with a large unemployment. The regime had no answer to the economic crisis which had started in 1929.
A new government was formed under Damáso Berenguer, which aimed to go back to the political system of the Restoration. Finally local elections were convened on 12 April 1931, with a big success for the socialist and republican parties. Two days later the Republic was proclaimed.
Educational policy of the provisional government
Regulation of bilingual education in Catalan schools.
Religious freedom in education. Education in religion was no longer obligatory. The teachers, however, should inform the parents that they had a right to claim it. The aim was to create an ambience of tolerance. Religious symbols were allowed in class in case there was a consensus regarding between parents and teachers.
Attention to education of adults (the pedagogical missions which should diffuse general culture and education in rural zones and little villages.
To strengthen primary education. Most of the people in rural zones were still illiterate. There was a lack of primary schools. A plan was made to construct 5.000 schools a year. A lot was invested in the preparation of the teachers.
The government prepared a new law on education. Lorenzo Luzuriaga designed a plan which reflected the ideas regarding education of large sectors within the republican government:
Public education is a task o the state. private education is allowed as long as it does not aim to political or religious goals.
Education has to be secular. The school has to limit itself to provide information on the history of religion, with special attention to catholic religion. If families desire so, they can ask for religious education, and the school will provide it, but not during the regular classes.
The constitution of 1931 stated in the third article that Spain had no official religion. The nondenominational character of the state was hotly debated at the time. In article 26 was stated that the state would no longer maintain, favor or help economically the church or other religious institutions or associations. Religious orders were no longer allowed to organize education. The Church could only teach its doctrines in its own establishments.
The constitution was not accepted by the church and conservative politicians. The constitution was not a product of consensus.
Because of the growing conflicts between republican parties and the socialists which in face of the economic crisis claimed far reaching reforms, the government lead by Azaña convened elections in 1933.
Victory for the CEDA (confederación española de derechas autónomas), led by Gil Robles.
Political programm: to include catholic faith again in the Constitution
Alejandro Lerroux was appointed as the new prime minister
Measures of Azaña regarding education were revoked. Less interest in the stimulation of primary education, less schools were built. “Coeducation” was forbidden and considered immoral. Activity of the school inspectors, who were considered by the previous government as important instruments to improve education, was limited.
Some positive measures:
Construction of the Ciudad Universitaria of Madrid.
Inauguration of the Colegio de España in Paris
September 1935: the government fell over a corruption scandal. 16 February 1936: popular front won the elections. This government wanted to continue the reforms of the first government of Azaña.
The education in the national zone was determined by ideological values which were the opposite of the educational values of the Second Republic. The new regime, lead by Franco, and constituted in 1938 in Burgos, wanted to purge the educational system created by the Republic and to eradicate the liberal and socialist pedagogical ideas. The plans for bilingual education and coeducation were abolished. Neither did the regime continue the efforts of the republic to stimulate primary education. Constructing new schools was not a priority of the new regime. Until 1945 no money is reserved for the construction of schools. During the first twenty years after the war, the lack of schools increased. Moreover, the content of the instruction given at primary schools was no longer an important subject. It was sufficient that the primary schools stimulated the religious, moral, patriotic principles which had inspired the ideology of the new régime.
Above all secondary education is important:
Secondary education is considered as an ideal way to give society an ideological orientation
Elitist view on education. Secondary education is seen as a preparation for the university.
The Falange was not interested in allowing too big an influence of the Church on education as it considered that education was the competence of the State, in line with the totalitarian fascist ideology. The State should be based on the power of the caudillo, the army and the state. The first years of the government of Franco, the Falange movement took advantage of the influence exerted by the fascist regime in Italy and by the nazis in Germany.
The falangistas were not able to develop their own particular ideas regarding education, apart from giving importance to values as discipline, spirit of service, ascetic life, and patriotic values. As a consequence, the influence they exerted on education finally was not very big. This was also the cause of the organizational weakness of the movement, and of its ideological heterogeneousness. Where they did have some influence however was on the field of the ideological control of the teachers, through the so called “Servicio Español de magisterio”. Every teacher had to be a member of this organization.
When it became clear that the Italians and the Germans were going to loose the war, the movement lost political influence
The Church, unlike the Falange had developed solid ideas about education, based above all on papal texts, such as the encyclical of Pío XI, published in 1929. The catholic theory sustained that the church should have preeminence over education. The Church was an ideal society. That was why the Church had the moral authority to teach.
The role of the state was to help the church in the field of education. The law established the right of the parents to choose freely the educational center. However, since all the schools were controlled by the regime, and had to adapt themselves to their political and religious dogmas, this was no real freedom.
The law established that primary education prepared the pupil for work in agriculture, business or industry, or for higher education. However, this was related to the boys. Girls were prepared basically for their work in the household and craftwork.
Pedro Sainz Rodríguez minister of education in 1938 - 1939. Warned the teachers for the mistakes of modern pedagogy.
He attacked the ideas of the Enlightenment, above all the ideas of Rousseau.
He contrasted the ideas of Rousseau with those of the catholic doctrine of the fall of men because of his original sin. As a consequence, education should be based on discipline and asceticism.
Sainz Rodríguez opposed further the ideas of liberalism and of Marxism -without making an effort to distinguish between the two- to the values of the National Revolution. The Nation was a moral unity, not merely an aggregation of individuals within one territory. To belong to a nation meant forming part of a whole, of a nation with its own national values. Revolutionary pedagogy, according to Sainz Rodríguez, wanted to destroy the idea of a moral fatherland.
One of the first task of the so called National government was the ideological purge of the educational system of the Republic.
This purge had its consequences for the teachers, the students and pupils and for the schoolbooks.
Depuration of the libraries. Only books with “correct” ideas regarding the principles of religion, Christian morality and patriotism were allowed.
All the teachers who had been members of the parties belonging to the Popular Front, or those who had sympathies for these parties, had to be fired. According to the rhetoric of the regime, the “revolutionary hordes” were the product of the education given at institutions like the ILE, which had created anarchistic and incredulous generations.
Students who had been following classes in pedagogy in the schools of the Republic, and wanted to continue their study had to ask for a document to the military and civil authorities and the church which stated their good religious and patriotic behavior.
After the period of the autarky, economic recovery starts slowly. The sixties were a period of economic growth
From 1957 on, the régime is dominated by the so called technocrats, which came from the circles of the Opus Dei. The technocratical model is an effort to modernize and liberalize the economy without allowing political liberty.
This effort also had its consequences for education.
In 1970 important educational reforms were established by the Ley Vilar Palasí
Villar palasí became minister of education in 1968, after the student protests. One of his first tasks was a reform of the universities, which were the origin of a powerful movement of protest against the regime. However, he started eventually a deep reform of the educational system of Spain.
October 1968, the meeting in Buitrago. Villar surrounded himself with a team of technicians who reflected on the state of education. The wrote the famous “white paper”
Big part of the white paper criticized the current educational system. Partial reforms were no longer considered sufficient.
Still half a million of children could not go to school.
There was an early separation between education in humanistic subjects and science.
No connection between the “bachillerato” and the “educación profesional”.
Lack of modern pedagogical techniques.
The white paper was not elaborated after a broad social discussion, but was written exclusively by technicians. The paper, while innovative and necessary, lacked social foundation. The law did not open possibilities for a participation of parents, students or professors.
The law broke with education being a barrier for some and an opportunity for the rest
Basic education from 6 till 14. Free and obligatory for all.
Secondary education aspired to prepare the students for higher education and should give the pupils a sufficient general formation. The bachillerato should consist of obligatory subjects and optional subjects, and subjects which would prepare the students for technical and professional activities. However, the result of the law in practice was different from the theory. The obligatory subjects did not have any connection between them and did not connect to modern demands. There were nearly no optional subjects and the preparation for technical and professional activities was reduced to two hours.
Innovation regarding professional formation. The law tried to give the student a broader formation s that he had more possibilities within the sector for which he was educated. There should be created three grades of professional education. In practice, the first two grades resulted to be excessively theoretic and the third grade was never created.
Autonomy of the administration of the universities, which did not become a reality.