The salary of Religion teachers paid by the State breaks its record with 115 million euros

The Government allocated 115.9 million euros to pay the salary of Religion teachers in Infant and Primary courses in 2021, the last year for which data exists. It is the highest amount disbursed by the central Executive in the last ten years, despite the fact that in this period the number of teachers has been reduced.

Over the last decade, the public funds allocated to these teachers have ranged between 94.3 million euros in 2012 and 115.9 million in 2021. The number of staff hired has also ranged from 3,281 in the 2011/ 12 and 2,827 in the last school period, which ended in June.

The Ministry of Education pays these fees because it has the power to hire teachers who do not belong to the Teaching Officials Corps and who teach the Catholic, Evangelical and Islamic confessions in public Early Childhood and Primary Education centers in Andalusia, Aragon, Cantabria. , Canary Islands, as well as all educational levels in Ceuta and Melilla.

In these autonomous communities, it is the central government that directly pays the wages to these workers. In the case of the autonomous cities, they also deal with the hiring of Religion teachers for Secondary Education and Baccalaureate students. In the last year they had nine teachers. In the rest of the regions, these powers are transferred and the salaries are paid by the regional executives.

With this financing, the Ministry faced in the 2021/22 academic year the salary of 2,827 teachers who taught 131,301 hours. A year earlier, in 2020/21, Education had 2,829 teachers who gave 132,476 hours, according to a response obtained through the Transparency Portal. Funding and teacher data cannot be compared because the former are broken down into calendar years and the latter into school years.

To speak of religion teachers in Spain is practically to refer to the Catholic religion. In the last course, 95.2% of the total contracted workers (2,692) taught Catholic religion, 1.9% of teachers (56) taught about Islamic religion and 2.7% (79) evangelical, according to the Education data.

Andalusia was the community that received the most funding in 2021, with 84 million. The following autonomies that obtained the highest item were Canarias (18 million euros), Aragón (6 million), Cantabria (4 million) and Madrid (73,623 euros), the latter being paid the corresponding amount for education services to distance. The autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla received 2.1 and 1.2 million euros, respectively.

Taking funding into account, Andalusia is the region that managed the highest number of contracted teachers (2,021) and the highest number of hours taught (48,469) last year. Of the total number of teachers, only 28 are hired to teach Islamic religion, 65 teach evangelical religion and 1,928 are dedicated to the Catholic religion.

In the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla the distribution is more homogeneous. In the 2021/22 academic year, 16 Catholic teachers and fourteen Muslims worked in Ceuta. Melilla registered 14 teachers of the Catholic confession and ten for the Islamic. In none of these populations was the teaching of evangelicals required.

The year 2017 was a turning point for state funding of religious teaching. Since then, the amount allocated by the Government to this item has only grown. In 2017 they paid 98 million. In 2018 the Ministry of Education paid 105.7 million. A year later it allocated 106.8 million. In 2020 they faced this budget item with 112 million euros and in 2021, with 115.9 million.

Until 2018, the barrier of one hundred million euros in the last decade had only been exceeded in 2011 (103.3 million) and in 2016 (100 million euros). In this period, it had never exceeded 110 million euros.

The money received and the number of hours taught have developed disparate trends. If in the last ten years funding has increased over time, the number of teachers and total hours worked by these teachers has only decreased in that period. Compared to the 3,281 teachers hired by Education in the 2011/12 academic year, the Ministry had 2,827 teachers in the last academic year. In this last decade they have lost 454 teachers.

The same dynamics have suffered the hours taught by these workers. It has gone from 139,258 hours in the 2011/12 academic year to 131,301 in the school period that ended last June. The most time spent on this subject over the last decade was in the 2012/13 academic year, with 141,208 hours.

From the Ministry they do not clarify why the amount of public money allocated to this matter has increased, despite the fact that the number of teachers has been progressively decreasing. In the response issued through the Transparency Portal, Education ensures that "in the totals for the 2018-2021 period, the expense made for the payment of arrears in the execution of final judgments in matters of three-year and six-year terms is included."

Education finances the presence in the academic agenda of three religious confessions: Catholic, Evangelical and Islamic. While the presence of teachers who teach the doctrine of the Episcopal Conference has been decreasing, the presence of teachers of evangelical religion has increased by a dozen in recent years, going from close to 70 to close to 80. In the last course, they have had 79 teachers of this confession: 13 men and 66 women.

A similar increase has been experienced by teachers who teach the Islamic confession. The figures have also increased by a dozen in the last ten years. In the 2011/12 academic year there were 45 and in the last one, 56 (30 men and 26 women).

This item also finances Religion classes at educational centers abroad. In the last course the Government has allocated 230,239 euros to this service in which only teaching is given on the Catholic confession. For this they have had nine teachers distributed in Andorra, Bogotá, Lisbon, London, Paris and Rome, who gave 133 hours of teaching.

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