Confusion reigns over religious teaching option

Mardrid, Spain - The Socialist party education spokesman kicked up a political row by saying pupils who opt not to study religion in schools will not have an alternative.

Eva Almunia said for pupils who opted not to study religion in school, there should not be an alternative course on ethics.

But the new draft education bill, presented last week, did not make it clear if there would be an alternative to religion or not.

The Socialists have suggested in the past an ethics course may be offered.

But Alumnia´s comments came on the day Socialist prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero met for the first time with the new head of the Spanish Church Bishop Ricardo Blazquez.

The Church has opposed the Socialists´s education reforms, along with many of the government´s other social reforms like legalizing gay marriage and making divorce and abortion easier.

The main opposition, Popular Party, criticised the government for the apparent “confusion” over religious teaching in schools.