Common front against linguistic immersion demands 25% of classes in Spanish

A dozen organisations offer to collect and process families' requests

2 min
A classroom in a school without female students, in an archive image.

BarcelonaOrganisations against linguistic immersion have created a common front to expand precautionary measures setting a minimum 25% of teaching hours in Spanish at a school of Canet de Mar to other schools across Catalonia. A dozen organizations, including Societat Civil Catalana (SCC), S'ha Acabat and Asamblea por una Escuela Bilingüe de Catalunya (AEB), have presented a campaign called Escuela de Todos - Escola de Tothom to channel and process petitions by families who want to sue Catalan schools so that the Supreme Court establishing the 25% minimum is executed. The goal, however, is to put pressure on the Generalitat to put Spanish and Catalan on level footing as classroom languages, which the organisations believe is necessary following the ruling.

"Nobody is asking only for classes in Spanish, but in both languages, and we will work so that Catalonia's High Court's ruling is respected," said the president of the AEB, Ana Losada, on Thursday. "We can't have any more Canets de Mar. As parents, we want to stop being heroes or activists and we want a school for all Catalans, Spanish-speaking and Catalan-speaking," she added.

The ruling that forced the Canet de Mar school to teach 25% of classes in Spanish after a single family's request has generated a huge controversy despite the fact that there have already been about eighty similar rulings across Catalonia – and a dozen more cases are still being heard. According to the organisations, this last resolution is a turning point and a "catalyst" that has made visible "a violation of students' rights that has been dragging on for 30 years". According to Losada, since then, about sixty families have asked the AEB for the form to initiate legal proceedings and 13 families have already requested bilingualism from the administration.

The organisations denounce that the Generalitat, some political parties and the Ombudsman are calling for disobedience. "The situation is of maximum gravity", the president of the unionist entity Impulso Ciudadano, José Domingo, claims. He criticises that the president of the Generalitat has convened an extraordinary language summit this Thursday only focused on Catalan. "The institutions have decided that a judicial resolution will not be fulfilled and that the immersion model will not be touched. If we have to go school by school so that justice is done and what the majority of Catalans want is done, we will do it," said Domingo.

"Sectarian" government response

The platform will provide forms to families or students of legal age who want to request the Generalitat enforces the 25% minimum on teaching hours in Spanish. According to the spokesmen, the goal is not to collapse the courts. In fact, they say that before embarking on any judicial offensive, they will wait to see whether the Generalitat enforces the ruling in the two months it has been given by the Supreme Court. This is to "prevent Spain from receiving a warning from the European Union for failing to comply with court rulings".

Fernando Sánchez-Costa, of SCC, believes that the Government's refusal to comply with the Supreme Court ruling is "sectarian" because families' demand is "common sense, fair and corresponds to students' and most Catalans' sociolinguistic reality". "We feel we have all the strength to start this revolt. We extend our hand to the president to talk about this issue, but there is a premise: rulings must be respected," he adds. The platform asks to meet the Government, political parties and trade unions and has enabled a website to raise funds.