Every time

Pilar Pamplona



for her coffee to be brought to her at the bar on Abejeras street that she usually frequents, any detail, a simple stack of napkins on a table, can blow her mind. .. actually two steps away from there, to the classrooms for which she is responsible as director of Infant and Primary Schools at the school where she has worked for 36 years in the capital of Navarra.

The same thing happens to him when he walks past a stationery store or a bookstore, when he is at home - «a joke runs on Facebook that says: 'The teacher is the only worker who steals things from his home to take them to work'» , he tells me- or when he goes on a trip.

"I'm a bit obsessive and whatever I do I think in a school key," she confesses.

As a teacher -she is not considered a teacher because "a teacher is just a teacher, a teacher is a life companion"- Pilar Pamplona has already navigated through

eight educational reforms,

those corresponding to the eight education laws enacted since democracy was installed effectively in Spain in 1977.

Well, a century before that, in 1877, a woman named

María Emilia Riquelme y Zayas-Fernández de Córdoba

was also dedicated to education, specifically that of young people without resources who wanted to undertake ecclesiastical studies, which she subsidized.

From the call of God to the call of the polls

María Emilia was born on August 5, 1847 in Granada, and soon she had felt the call of God.

But her father, who among other positions came to hold that of undersecretary of the

Ministry of War,

was not in the mood, so it would not be until 1896, when her father had already disappeared, when María Emilia could fulfill her dream: to create her own congregation religious, that of the

Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament and Mary Immaculate.

She would die in her hometown on December 10, 1940. On November 9, 2019, she was beatified.

Just on that day, the campaign for the

last Spanish general elections

ended , the second in six months, which would once again put the PSOE in the seat of power and start up the machinery that would make it possible for the

Organic Law of Modification of the LOE,




Celaá Law.

The rule, as is customary in each educational reform, caused a scandal, the most passionate among politicians, the most strident among the 'twitterers', and the most procession that goes inside among teachers.

"There is a feeling that we don't count for anything when it comes to making laws," says Pilar Pamplona.

To stir the waters a little more, and already at the command of the Ministry of Education and Professional Training

Pilar Alegría,

Royal Decree 984/2021,

of November 16, would arrive, which regulates the evaluation and promotion in Primary and the same plus degree


Compulsory Secondary, Baccalaureate and Vocational Training;

and, less than a month ago,

Royal Decree 217/2022,

of March 29, which establishes the organization and minimum teachings of Compulsory Secondary Education, alias ESO.

And then, throughout those four months, this country began to care a lot about one thing: History.

The Great Captain and Boabdil in the pillory

For now, let's go back to María Emilia Riquelme, whom we left hanging from a previous paragraph.

It turns out that María Emilia was a


descendant of the famous

Great Captain.

As nobody escapes,

Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba y Enríquez de Aguilar

(1453-1515) was a Castilian nobleman and military man who earned his superb nickname, above all, for his role in a key process of the Reconquest, the Grenada War.

It was he who took charge of the negotiations so that


would surrender the city and with it the kingdom, an episode that left us with that 'drama queen' phrase of "cry like a woman what you have not known how to defend as a man" that supposedly snapped


to his son, the Nasrid monarch.


Well, none of the above will be learned, starting next year, by the

Baccalaureate students

affected by the new law, which draws a significant chronological cut for their History (only the events from 1812, date of birth of Pepa , come on, of the Constitution of Cadiz).

That colleague of mine who was about to be killed by his teacher (with the complicity of the whole class) because he was not capable of understanding how the years ran backwards before Christ and forwards afterwards, he would be happy.

The most angry with the disappearance of a part of History in High School have not been, as might be expected, the Godos Kings, but those who have a sensitive nose for


and perceive

a whiff of censorship

(perhaps from our past glories, the conquest of America, the Empire in general, very discredited issues today, as defended by the controversial 'Imperiofobia' by

María Elvira Roca Barea)

with severe notes of propaganda, presentism, instrumentalization of the past... The


, for its part, has defended saying

I have not been

because, for example, the French have already done it before.

In its equivalent to our Second Baccalaureate, it is only studied from World War II to here.

As for the fact that the chronological order of events is also blurred as the backbone of the study of history, it has also caused rashes that not even with corticosteroids, among others, to the

academics of History,

who have highlighted how "historical events appear blurred , even debatable» in the new plan.

Nor did they like the "slide of history towards education in gender equality, sensitivity to climate change, sustainable development goals, a solidarity perspective towards vulnerable groups...".

Come on, that's all wrong.

What would Aristotle think of all this?

It must be said that what the Government sets for History are the minimum requirements;

that is, if in the part of the curriculum (tool with the criteria, study plans, programs, methodology, processes... that should guide teaching) that depends on the Autonomous Communities, they want to add


well, yes, of back to 1,000,000 BC Although in the end, what remains floating in the air as a big question is not whether the disappearance of Atapuerca from the curriculum will cause havoc in the minds of students equivalent to that of the impact of the meteorite that erased the dinosaurs from the face of the Earth 66 million years ago, but if it is possible to make

education free of ideology.


says that who cares, since in Spanish only 222 search results include the expression “educate without ideology”, among them a blog entry by the philosopher and pedagogue

José Antonio Marina

where he states that “ideology is education what myxomatosis is to the rabbit”, come on, a deadly disease.

Nothing to do with what the cultural critic and influential theorist of pedagogy

Henry Giroux defends,

who thinks that, impossible I don't know, but it would definitely be undesirable, since «those who argue that education should be ideologically neutral, actually advocate a version of education in which nobody is responsible” (in clear reference to the neoliberal ideal).

For Giroux, in fact, "education should be at the center of any discourse on democracy."


would agree with Giroux, but from a very different point of view, because for him politics was the exercise of reason (alas!).

The educational plan proposed by the 4th century BC philosopher was as follows: from 17 to 20 years of age, sports;

from 20 to 30, mathematics;

between 30 and 35 theory of ideas.

Later, dedication to politics for 15 years, and when he turned 50, he went back to school.

Reform, reform, that the world is going to end...

It can be said that Pilar Pamplona is in this last phase, not only now that she has crossed the border of 50, but always, because, she says, "if there is a profession that is not static, in which you have to be learning from constant way, that is the teacher.

Because the student does not stop evolving.

Today, she explains, "everything has to be taught at school, there is more and more pressure from families and from the councils, we have to be more psychologists, more family mediators...".

And that, while you implement reform after reform.

"It is very difficult for teachers to adapt their work, every so often, to the regulations approved by a new government," complains

Sonia García Gómez,

vice president of the independent teachers' union ANPE.

“That is why it is essential that there be a minimum agreement where the foundations of a profound and global reform of the educational system are laid down that gives normative stability and continuity.

A pact that must start and take into account the opinion of the teaching staff », she claims.

And while that happens in the worlds of Yupi, at the foot of the classroom the restlessness spreads.

«The reform begins to be implemented in September.

But we still don't have the definitive curriculum, which the

Department of Education

has to send us [the Government enacts a law on minimum education that is later developed by the Autonomous Communities].

In fact, they have told us that at the end of the course they will send it to us as it is.

Finished or unfinished”, says Pilar Pamplona.

But it is that the reforms of education in Spain, says

Julia Lozano,

a secondary school teacher with experience in both the concerted and the public, are always done like this, come on, by leaps and bounds: «From the moment the decrees are approved until are put into practice there is a tedious and cumbersome process that is not seen.

It is necessary to adapt programming, content, most of the time on the fly and without specific training, implementing changes that sometimes slow down, returning to the starting point and taking false steps without knowing if after six months a new reform will change it all over again.

And Sonia García, from ANPE, adds something that hardly anyone seems to dwell on, that "the implementation of LOMLOE will require

teacher training

to apply the new competency-based curricula, in line with Spain's commitments in the European Union" .

Everything, in less than six months since the approval of the last decrees.

Examples that... do not serve as an example

Not six months, but six years (specifically between 1855 and 1861), it took

Uno Cygnaeus

to develop a new educational system for


at that time annexed to Russia.

He is considered the father of the Finnish public school, which was the object of an important reform in the 70s of the 20th century and successive readjustments that extend until today, and is considered one of the best educational systems in the world.

With much fewer teaching hours than Spain (808 compared to our 1,054, we beat all records), late schooling (at 7 years old), totally free (including the dining room and books), holistic approach, hardly any exams and teachers who are genuinely worship in the happiest country in the world (at least in 2021 according to the United Nations 'World Happiness Report'), the Finnish system stands out for the

level of knowledge

of its students, at least according to the latest

PISA report.

"Finland is often cited as an example of success in Europe, although I don't think it can be considered fully satisfactory," reassures us

Inmaculada Egido,

Professor of

Comparative Education

at the Complutense University of Madrid;

“Because there are always aspects that can be improved.

The reason is that Finland combines very good results (quality) with a high level of equity (results do not depend on the social or family situation of the students as much as they do in other countries).'

And to those of us who already dreamed of incorporating the good customs of the country that invented the Molotov cocktail, Pilar Pamplona, ​​from the harsh reality of everyday life, warns us: «We are different realities.

To give an example: a Finnish child leaves school and goes home, and there he meets his whole family, that's why they can afford to have so few teaching hours.

Education goes with society.

What separates us most from Finland, apart from 4,000 kilometers, is the usual: pasta (6.27% of GDP in education, them, 4.18% us, according to the World Bank. Their per capita income is almost double that of ours).

But not only,

Inmaculada Egido reminds us, asked why it is what distances our educational system the most from the most advanced in Europe.

“There are

many differences.

In addition to

financing , I would point out early detection and attention to

learning difficulties

as one of the fundamental ones.

It is essential to diagnose any problem of this type as soon as possible and act to solve or alleviate it, with the necessary support (school counselors, special education specialists, support teachers).

In Spain, these students are often not adequately attended to, and the problems they present are growing, so that it is increasingly difficult to intervene».

Suspense, repeaters, nightmare...

In the end, the sum and continues gives us the

highest rate of repeaters in the OECD

(8.7% of Spanish students in the first stage of secondary education and 7.9% in the second repeated the year in 2019, when the OECD averages are 1.9% and 3%, respectively), an army of individuals whose course of education is altered and who at the same time alter the course of the education of others.

According to an investigation signed by the Argentines

Antonieta Kuz


Roxana Silvia Giadini,

the overage of the repeaters conditions «the potential of the student to learn, because, on the one hand, it represents a situation of


with respect to their peers and on the other hand, it gives rise to a lack of adaptation on the part of educational institutions, which generally do not have differentiated strategies to respond to this problem».

Well, we do, since in 2022 the power has decided to solve the problem by giving him a paracetamol.

Come on, eliminating the symptoms.

Or what is the same, erasing the suspense from the equation.

The new wide sleeve with failures (in the new law


is considered

an exceptional measure,

you can only go through the same course twice,

recoveries disappear

June and September and students who have failed a subject will be able to pass the course with the approval of the faculty) has been another of the most misunderstood aspects of the new educational reform, also by sectors of the teaching staff that, like the one represented by ANPE, They consider it a mistake, in the voice of their vice president, «to allow unlimited promotion and title of failed subjects in Secondary.

Passing the subjects is the indicator and reference to verify that the students have acquired the established skills and have achieved the objectives of the stage.

The message that is transmitted to teachers and students is very demotivating, delving into the idea of ​​the devaluation of merit and effort.

From the

Ministry of Education

they see it differently (of course).

"Repeating the course is not the solution," says Minister

Pilar Alegría

in statements to YO DONA, "neither for the students nor for the teaching staff."

And he adds: “In countries with advanced educational systems, no student repeats, they all pass automatically.

We have the evidence of the indicators and the analysis of experts: it is no use repeating the course doing the same thing as the previous year or promoting to the next course without specific reinforcement measures.

France and Portugal were like us 10 years ago, and have achieved better results with fewer repeaters."

What does work, adds Alegría, is “prevention and recovery”.

In this sense, she affirms, "we are going to provide support for those students who pass the course with a need for personalized monitoring."

For ANPE, for its part, the

solution against school failure

and repetitions is to "prevent them from happening, to a large extent, by reducing the number of students per classroom, establishing splits and reinforcement programs in educational centers and providing sufficient teachers to carry out".

In the end, the whole story returns to the same point: the little money.

Repeat after me: com-pe-ten-cias

Look where, María Emilia Riquelme y Zayas-Fernández de Córdoba did not have this problem, so on March 25, 1896, after the founding of her religious congregation, she opened a school for girls in Seville.

By 1912 she had already opened four branches of her congregation.

Like modern businessmen, María Emilia had a vision and had forged a mission, one clearer than the other.

The same can be said of the new educational reform.

Because while we all mourn the death of

Don Pelayo,

metaphorically speaking, of course, the most drastic and at the same time the most blurred changes introduced by the new norm are not there, in History, but in the

first annex

of the

Royal Decree of March 29,


'Student exit profile at the end of basic education'.

The exit profile, says the Royal Decree, "sets the

key skills

that students must have acquired and developed by the end of basic education."

They are the adaptation to the Spanish educational system of the

Recommendation of the Council of the European Union

of May 22, 2018;

competences in linguistic, multilingual, mathematical communication and in science, technology and engineering, digital, personal, social and learning to learn, citizenship, entrepreneurship, cultural awareness and expression.

The most remarkable thing about the reform

is, in fact, explains Inmaculada Egido, this

change in the curricular orientation

where the subject ceases to be the center of the school organization, which happens to occupy the development of skills by students.

But to achieve this change "it is necessary to make spaces and times in the school more flexible, the collaboration of teachers of different subjects, new methods of teaching and evaluation... It is a far-reaching challenge, which requires a change in the culture of educational centers and in which teachers and management teams are going to need advice and support to move forward.

The question is: will they have them, or will they manage there?

The teacher Julia Lozano is pessimistic because she has already seen the same movie many times and it always ends the same: «In theory it sounds perfect, but in practice I am afraid it is not so perfect.

Teacher training is not homogeneous, there are many from the old school who find it difficult to adapt to the evaluation of competencies, because the system often fails to give examples of how and what to evaluate».

Pilar Pamplona agrees: «What does not quite work in the new law is the evaluation.

Because the core of the reform is competencies.

And the evaluation criteria are oriented to them.

But you can't put a numerical grade on competitions.

And that is where the law falls: you have to put a note on something for which the notes are useless.

And meanwhile, in Spain...

The fact is that between one thing and another, the school is on fire.

One might ask why, despite not being Finns, we allow as a society that a good as essential as our future is consumed again and again in the flames of fires caused by the manifest inability of our politicians to go together in what exceeds the time limit of a mandate.

In that it is clear that they are, whatever the acronym they fly, the ones who have no competition (well, back to the


Just as María Emilia Riquelme did not benefit from all her competence in staying away from the madding crowd in 1936, when she was 90 years old.

She had to flee to France after the outbreak of the

Civil War,

although she would soon return, first to her foundation in Pamplona, ​​on Abejeras street.

The building would end up housing a school, the Santísimo Sacramento.

There, in 1986, a woman who had inherited a deep devotion to teaching from her father, Pilar Pamplona, ​​would start working.

A woman who, put the education laws that put her ahead of her, and they have already put eight, she will never throw in the towel, because she, she says, she carries within her «the DNA of the teacher.

Plaster is never lost.

Even if you retire."

She will have to ask him for a little, so as not to despair.

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