At the present L.O.M.C.E. governs the educational frame in which academic life at high schools is developing right now. The ethics curricula –starting at around 6 years old in primary school with a subject on ‘Valores Sociales y Cívicos’ [Social and Civic Values]’– are presented as an alternative to religion in the first stages of the educational ladder. Either in primary school or in the compulsory secondary education (E.S.O.) that goes from 12 to 16 years old, the ethical subjects are offered –an offer made mandatory by the state for all schools– as an alternative to religion.
‘Valores Éticos’ [Ethical Values] is a compulsory subject along with religion in the four courses of E.S.O. and in the last one the ethics curriculum gets an improvement in the fashion of a new subject, ‘Philosophy’, programmed as an elective subject in a pool of 10 other subjects that include again ‘Ethical Values’ in the case the student chose religion as a core subject. Students have to choose then depending on the region in which they study one to four of these elective subjects. In regard to ‘Social and Civic Values’ the community of Madrid –each community has the right to modify the curricula of these type of subjects– establishes that the curriculum of the subject must grant the development and illustration of the values included in the Spanish constitution. The development of the students’ personality has to be presented against the background of democratic principles as respect, dignity, rule of law and freedom. Every one of these values and contents should promote the student’s autonomy and reinforce the idea that we have to live together in a community (B.O.E. 3 de Enero de 2015, pp. 534-ff.). While ‘Philosophy’ as a matter should improve the competence to abstract from the contents to which each discipline is devoted and to think and understand them critically. Inquiry should be ‘radical’ and balanced with dialogue. The aim is to clarify the human experience (Ibid., pp. 249-ff.)
This very subject is also present in the first year of the Bachillerato as compulsory for all three modalities (Arts, Sciences and Humanities and Social Sciences) for 16-17 year-olds. The pre-College course (2° Bachillerato) gives its space to a second philosophical subject, ‘History of Philosophy’, only for those in the academic itinerary for Humanities and Social Sciences, but as a core subject for them. Planned in continuity with ‘Philosophy’ the contents are presented like a history of ideas in which the ethical drive works as transversal with each classical thinker (Ibid., pp. 328-ff.).