The linguistic model used in the Catalan educational system is threatened by the Spanish government’s intentions to reform the federal law.
This afternoon, the Catalan President, Artur Mas, meets with leading representatives of the education sector and the leaders of the Catalan political parties supporting the linguistic model used at Catalan schools, which represent a large majority in the Catalan parliament. This extraordinary summit on education is held only a few days after the Spanish government announced its intentions to reform the Act on Educational Quality (LOMCE).
The draft bill proposed by the Spanish government downgrades the Catalan language to the category of an elective subject, at the same level as the third foreign language, while it reinforces the teaching of Spanish and the courses taught in Spanish as compulsory subjects. The Catalan educational system, however, is based on the pre-eminence of Catalan to compensate for the fact that socially speaking it is the weaker language. This model, that has been successfully applied in Catalonia since the return of democracy, has proven to be an essential instrument of social cohesion as it guarantees access to the Catalan language to children from non-Catalan-speaking families. Various official tests, such as the university entrance exams, show that the knowledge Catalan students have of the Spanish language is similar or better than the average level in Spain. Catalan is Catalonia’s own language, is the co-official language together with Spanish and is protected by the Spanish Constitution itself.
The Catalan educational model, which differs from the bilingual model used in other parts of Spain, such as Galicia and the Basque Country, has been approved by international experts and receives almost unanimous support in Catalan society. Its main characteristic is that it does not separate pupils based on language. This is the reason why the education sector and most political parties have decided to publicly protest against this new attempt to change basic rules on education. On behalf of the Catalan government, spokesman Francesc Homs explained that the draft bill defies common sense and is basically a constitutional reform in disguise, as it violates basic principles included in the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. The Catalan minister of Education, Irene Rigau, has stated that the political motivation of the reform is evident and can be summarized in the ambition openly expressed recently by the Spanish minister of Education, José Ignacio Wert: to hispanicize Catalan students.
Thousands of people took to the streets last Monday to protest against the intentions of the Spanish government and express their support for the educational model used in Catalonia. The same opinion has been expressed by numerous institutions and public figures, such as the archbishop of Barcelona or Barça football star player Leo Messi, of Argentinian descent, who stated that he received his school education in Catalan and never had any problems with it. A majority of Catalans agree that the Spanish proposal is the main attempt against the Catalan language since the return of democracy in 1978.
Barcelona, December 12th, 2012
Die Welt Berichtet darüber.