Colònia de Sant Jordi public school. | Guillem Mas

At least 150 students from the Municipalities of Lloseta and Ses Salines have applied to study Islamic Religion, according to the Director General of Planning & Planning Centres, Antoni Morante.

Public schools in Lloseta (Es Puig), Ses Salines and Colonia de Sant Jordi have been chosen by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training to teach Islamic Religion for the first time in the Balearic Islands.

Councillor, Martí March and Antoni Morante explained that the criteria for choosing these three schools was demand and the fact that it is not possible to study the subject in those Municipalities.

In Inca, there are more subsidised centres than public ones. If we implement Islamic Religion in a public centre in Inca, it’s very likely that the families of Muslim students from concerted centres will want to enroll where this subject is taught. We would find ourselves facing an unbalanced schooling and we want to avoid that,” said Antoni Morante.

"Including Islamic Religion is part of an agreement between the State and the Islamic Commission of Spain and subsequent regulations of 1996,” explains Martí March. Murcia and the Balearic Islands were the only communities that did not comply, and we were exposed to lawsuits. Through an agreement with the Islamic Commission of the Balearics in 2019, it was established that Islamic studies would be included in 2020, but everything was postponed because of the pandemic, so the subject will be included in the curriculum for the next academic year. We agreed with the Islamic Commission that it would be taught in a maximum of 10 public schools and starting with just three centres hasn't satisfied the Commission, but we have decided to do this as a pilot test."

Catholic religion

“There are 145 Catholic Religion teachers in Balearic public schools and 2 for Islamic Religion. Islamic Religion teachers must meet the same requirements as other teachers, including the level of Catalan. Catholic Religion teachers are proposed by their respective island bishops and Islamic Religion teachers will be proposed by the Islamic Commission of the Balearics.

Martí March called for “a rational and non-visceral response to this subject," saying "it should not lead to social or educational divisions. There are students who have the right to study the subject of Islamic Religion and we are obliged to comply with the regulations. This should not create unnecessary conflicts, school is a space for coexistence.”

In 1992 agreements were established with the Muslim, Jewish and Evangelical religions and in 1996, Islamic Religion was approved as an option for students.