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Spain

SPAIN: Teachers may find themselves starting the new school year supervising ludo, or snakes and ladders sessions. After a nine-month wait, the ministry of education has given schools its proposals for pupils unwilling to take religious education.

Parents of 6 to 13-year-olds are to receive a list of 41 optional activities, encompassing such activities as photography and stamp collecting, and including vaguer subjects such as "learning to know ourselves" or "youth associations".

Predictably it is the board games option that has raised a storm of protest. "Scandalous," said the secretary of the national Catholic Parents' Association.

While Church authorities complain that the proposals discriminate against those who take religion, teachers say that it is too late to implement any new schemes in time for the forthcoming school year at the end of September.

If the changes go ahead, older pupils will get no soft options; instead of religion, they will be required to take subjects like "Reformation and Counter-Reformation" or "Biblical tradition".

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