Six Opus Dei schools will mix boys and girls to avoid losing subsidies

Only five single-sex schools in Catalonia remain

2 min
The El Valle de Bellaterra school, in an archive image

BarcelonaOnly five of the 16 schools in Catalonia that used to separate students by sex will remain. The Institució Familiar d'Educació group, which manages ten schools in Catalonia, has announced that its secondary school groups will go co-ed as of next year. The measure, advanced by Diari de Girona, affects the centers of La Farga in Sant Cugat del Vallès (until now only for boys), La Vall (until now only for girls), Les Alzines (for girls) and Bell-lloc del Pla (for boys) in Girona and Institució Tarragona (formed by schools Aura, for girls, and Turó, for boys), and adds to what had already been done by schools in Igualada (Montclar and Mistral) and Lleida (Terraferma and Arabell). In total, there will remain five schools in Catalonia that will separate boys and girls, and they are the ones most closely linked to Opus Dei: Xaloc and Pineda, in L'Hospitalet; Viaró, in Sant Cugat; Camp Joliu, in L'Arboç, and Canigó, in Barcelona

There are two reasons behind Institució's decision: on the one hand, the progressive loss of students; on the other, and most importantly, the government's announcement it would not renew subsidies for single-sex chartered secondary schools. More than a year ago, the Department of Education already tried to withdraw subsidies to single-sex chartered primary schools, but the courts overturned that decision and forced the Government to "refrain" from making any statements or carrying out any actions "that prevented" families who wanted to enrol their children in these schools from doing so. To overturn subsidies for secondary schools, it has had to wait until now because in February 2018, when self-rule had been suspended, the State automatically renewed all subsidies for chartered schools.

Thus, and despite the fact that the courts have always stopped any of the attempts by the Generalitat to withdraw these subsidies, Education minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray announced last October that the Government would not renew subsidies to these schools because "they legitimise sexism". The Government argues that, in the meantime, the law has changed and now there is legal basis to do so: the new education law, the Lomloe, prohibits giving public money to single-sex schools, as it establishes that schools supported "partially or totally with public funds" have to develop "the principle of coeducation in all educational stages" and "will not separate students by gender". It is in this context that schools linked in some way to Opus Dei will have to take action to avoid losing out on subsidies.