Pedro Huerta directs, with the position of general secretary, Catholic Schools, the largest organization of concerted education. In round numbers, 2,000 schools belong to it, in which 1.2 million students study and 100,000 people work, 82,000 of them teachers. Graduated in Philosophy and religious of the order of the Trinitarians, Huerta was born 53 years ago in Alcázar de San Juan (Ciudad Real) and worked three decades in Andalusia, first in prisons and later in schools, especially in centers considered socially complex. The interview takes place on the first Tuesday of June, in the afternoon, at the not-so-showy headquarters of Escuelas Católicas, located in the Moratalaz neighborhood of Madrid, on some sofas in his office, very white and barely decorated, on one of whose shelves rests a photo in which he appears next to Pope Francis.
Ask. The electoral results of May have left the application of the new education law, the Lomloe, in the hands of regional authorities who have opposed it. And it is possible that if there are other parties in the Government in July, the law will change again. What do you think?
Answer. It is a scenario of worrisome uncertainty. We do not want Lomloe to be repealed. I really mean it. I could say: ‘But if you demonstrated and came out against Lomloe’. No, you have to differentiate. We came out to state that some aspects of Lomloe did not improve the educational system, but sought the progressive disappearance of the complementarity of networks, of educational concerts. But that doesn’t mean we want Lomloe repealed. If it happened, it would be detrimental to the educational system, to the schools, to the students themselves, and to the teachers, who are already quite tired and fed up with so much change. And above all, Lomloe includes a pedagogical corpus that is good, which was very necessary and whose development, of the curriculum, of (regulations for) qualifications, and other elements is still very necessary.
Q. What do you think would entail, if the Government changes, a stoppage in the calendar for the implementation of the law, that this course has started with the odd courses and the next one is expected to be extended to the even ones.
R. It would generate a lot of insecurity and a lot of boredom in the teaching staff, not to mention the publishing world, the creation of educational materials… The curriculum that has been proposed now is not easy. It is very complex and has required many hours of teacher training. At the end of this month and in July, an important part of the teaching staff, both ours and the public one, will continue to be trained on the elements that Lomloe incorporates in terms of methodological and pedagogical change… Who will order to stop those changes? , would have to give many explanations, because it would affect the quality of our educational system.
Q. What do you think of the competency-based learning that Lomloe intends to implement?
R. In the pedagogical aspects, Lomloe should have arrived earlier. This model should have been implemented much earlier in Spain. With the Lomce (the previous educational law, of the PP, approved 10 years ago) the opportunity to incorporate this approach was lost, which is not an invention from here, it has been asking us from Europe for a long time, and I think it will improve the quality of our system.
Q. But Escuelas Católicas asked to delay the implementation of the law.
R. Yes, but so that teachers could properly acquire their approach. My doubt is whether the benefits of this new system are really being incorporated by teachers, because it is a very strong change, which requires changes in the evaluation, and it is being done too quickly. I know, because I speak with many teachers, I myself have been until two years ago, that it is costing a lot, and that in many places it is being incorporated half way, apparently. This takes more time, so imagine if the solution given to him now is to paralyze him… that would be the last straw. I understand the rush of politicians to implement the law, the concern in case giving it more time there is a change of government and eliminate it. And precisely for this reason what we have also been asking for for years is needed, which is an educational pact that allows transformations of the educational system to take place without depending on changes in government, not only at the national level, but also at the regional level.
Q. He affirms that Lomloe has elements that threaten the concerted school, but they do not seem to have materialized.
R. The Lomloe is a tool that is there. And certain parts that attack subsidized schools, such as article 109 (which establishes, for example: “The educational administrations will promote a progressive increase in school positions in the network of publicly owned centers”) have been used by some communities and by others do not, regardless of political color. There are autonomies governed by the PP that have done so and others from the PSOE that have not. What we have said from the beginning is that such an open tool, which could become a thrown weapon against an important part of the educational system, should not be left in the hands of the autonomous communities. And yes, we would like some aspects of Lomloe to be qualified.
Q. What communities have used it?
R. Catalonia, for example. In the new educational law that they are doing in the Basque Country, it has also been used a lot. In La Rioja, in Extremadura, and in Galicia we have also had quite a few moments of concern, because they have told us that, by law, they had to prioritize public education. And others, like Valencia, Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha or Asturias, with socialist governments, there has been a fluid and very good dialogue.
Q. Is the Spanish Church doing what is necessary to investigate the sexual abuse of minors committed within it, denounce the culprits, repair the victims and put in place the mechanisms so that it does not happen again? Many think not.
R. As a Church I cannot speak, in any case give an opinion. Its managers have presented new protocols and instructions, and it seems to me an important step. I understand that from the outside it may be desired that the times and ways of communicating in the Church were different, more similar to those of a company, for example. But it is answered, and at this moment I believe that one can recognize in the Church a face that is ashamed and in a position to act and remedy it. Perhaps from the outside we would have liked it to act much earlier and be more forceful at other times. And more in situations as tough, as dramatic and as embarrassing as these.
Q. And are Catholic schools doing what is necessary? Many times it is difficult for them to answer these questions and there is a lack of transparency.
R. As a whole, society has come a long way in transparency, in unambiguously recognizing these situations, in the decision to face them, intervene and repair them. It is happening to all of us, and to schools too. We are in a moment of assuming responsibilities, not only before the cases, but also to prevent them in the future. At Escuelas Católicas we have two programs to train directors and teachers in prevention, and we have presented a guide with the same objective. Being done. Is there much to do yet? Evidently.
Q. For decades, the cases have been hidden, and the offenders have been relocated without further ado, sometimes in other schools. Because?
R. I believe that institutionally there had not been a reflection as it is now, sincere, close, on its scope. Not as a problem, but as a lack of testimony of what we are and something that needs to be changed. A problem is something that generates a situation that is better to cover up. And this is how they have acted, as if they were problems that had to be covered up. There was no institutional predisposition, as there was not in a large part of society. Now we have to work so that they do not happen, and so that if they do happen we know how to intervene, we do not cover anything up and we are clear enough. Not because a law says so, but because our essence says so, what we are.
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