Catalan in the classroom

Catalan ministry of Education claims Spanish government will not demand changes to use of Catalan in schools

Minister sends letter telling all head teachers not to modify percentage of classes taught in Catalan

2 min
Linguistic immersion

Catalan Education minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray has sent a letter to the head teachers of all the schools in Catalonia to ask them for calm and not to change their language policy after the latest judicial setback. The minister has explained in an interview to RAC1 that they do not want to make schools responsible for deciding. That is why the Department is assuming the responsibility. However, Gonzàlez-Cambray does not believe the imposition of 25% of Castilian in the classrooms will entail any real changes. He has assured that he has "guarantees" from the Minister of Education, Pilar Alegría, that the Spanish government will not demand any changes. "School in Catalonia is in Catalan and the Catalan will not be touched", he lashed out.

The ruling, after the Supreme Court rejected the appeal, is final. However, in order to force changes, schools would have to be urged to change, and the Catalan government claims the Spanish government will not intervene. Gonzàlez-Cambray has claimed that this is "another intrusion" but that this type of attacks "come from far away", from 2005, and that since then only 80 families have written complaints demanding schooling in Spanish, and that results back linguistic immersion.

"Schools do not have to make any changes now, they have to continue educating with a vocation of public service", he pointed out, and defended that it is not about "percentages, but pedagogy" and that what has to be guaranteed is that pupils finish the compulsory education with competences in Catalan and Castilian. Gonzàlez-Cambray explained that he had spoken about linguistic policy with the Spanish Education minister, who defended the new state-wide education law, which does not set percentages.

"They are inventing a problem where there isn't one, enough of this," Cambray insisted. The Catalan minister will meet representatives from all five parties that support language immersion (ERC, JxCat, CUP, En Comú and PSC). But the block is perhaps not as homogeneous as it was a few years ago. PSC leader Salvador Illa has already advanced in an interview on SER that, in spite of his support to the vehicular role of Catalan, his party would not have no issue with another subject being taught in Spanish, in addition to Spanish. Asked about the letter by Education minister to head teachers, Illa has said that the Catalan government ought to respect judicial decisions and that "it is in the wrong" if it declares itself insubordinate. In any case, he does not believe that the judicial decision of the Supreme Court "compromises" Catalan continuing to be the "central language" in schools.