Canet school already teaches 25% of classes in Spanish

Catalan Education minister says it cannot do otherwise and asks "to prioritize coexistence" after controversy

3 min
A mother accompanies her children at the Cerro del Dragón school in Canet de Mar

BarcelonaThe recipe to respond to the "attack" on the Catalan school model is to "prioritise coexistence" in centres. This is what Catalan Education minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray said at the gates of the Escola Turó del Drac in Canet de Mar, in the Maresme, where he went to calm the waters over the huge controversy generated by Catalonia's High Court's ruling to force the school to teach 25% of classes in Spanish, after a single family complained.

Last Friday, when the decision was made public, some families mobilised to show their disagreement and received the Education Department's support. The secretary general of the department, Patrícia Gomà, said that it is "positive" that families who want to maintain the current model react and mobilise. But the problem came with the publication of two tweets from people outside the school. One of the messages called for "child's house to be stoned", which prompted the association Hablamos Español to denounce an "orchestrated campaign" of harassment against the family and file a complaint with the Catalan Prosecutor to "investigate the facts reported and identify the authors of the tweets that incite violence and hatred". Some media have taken advantage of this and have assured that Spanish-speaking children are persecuted in Catalonia.

"There is no problem with the language. However much some may make one up, there is no linguistic problem in Catalan schools", Cambray remarked, and, without making an explicit reference to this controversy, he thanked the school and the families that "prioritise coexistence" and lead by example to their sons and daughters. Cambray also explained that the ruling of the High Court is addressed directly to the school, and therefore "prevents the department and the minister from giving an answer". "We can only accompany and protect the school board in applying precautionary measures," he said. The family asked for half of the lessons to be in Spanish and, while the court studies it, has ruled 25% of classes be taught in this language.

Thus, the claimant family's child's class will receive be taught visual, plastic and psychomotor skills in Spanish. "The anomaly of these judgments and the evidence that they do not conform to what actually happens in schools is even more blatant in [with young kids], who have no Catalan or Spanish classes," the minister said. Although there have already been around eighty rulings similar to this school's and there are a dozen more proceedings open in Catalonia's High Court, the sentence that affects the school has caused a great uproar because it is the first to come after Spain's Supreme Court ruling setting a 25% minimum of classes to be taught in Spanish, questioning the Catalan school model.

Cambray seeks the support of all former ministers

CAfter giving his support to the school in Canet, Cambray will meet with former After giving his support to the school in Canet, Cambray will meet former Catalan education ministers to serve to defend linguistic immersion. According La Vanguardia, the minister has summoned his predecessors from different political parties: Josep Bargalló, Meritxell Ruiz, Irene Rigau, Ernest Maragall, Joan Manuel del Pozo, Marta Cid, Carme Laura Gil and Joan Maria Pujals. Clara Ponsatí, who is in Scotland, is missing.

In the political field, from the opposition, the leader of the PSC, Salvador Illa, has said in an interview to the ACN that the socialists "will not take lessons from anyone, not even from the minister". He asked him to convene all the groups and to work "for a broad consensus". The socialists declined to attend a meeting convened by the minister after the Supreme Court ruling, which ERC, JxCat, the CUP-NCG and En Comú Podem attended. The PSC did not attend because Cambray had not called all parliamentary groups. "Everyone has to be involved," Illa insisted, who believes that "the best thing to do for Catalan is to recover a very broad consensus". "Either we depoliticise Catalan at school or we are on the wrong track," he said.