Society 09/06/2021

High Court does not affect university entrance exams: the same 5% choose to take them in Spanish

A journalistic text on collecting and an excerpt from 'Luces de bohemia', the options in the Spanish exams

2 min
Students take their university entrance exams at the UB Faculty of Biology
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BarcelonaThe 40,000 students who have studied two years of baccalaureate in the middle of the pandemic have already begun the university entrance exams of Catalonia (PAU). And they have done so not only marked by security measures -again, masks and distance when taking the exams-, but also in full controversy over the decision of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, which when there were less than 24 hours for the tests ordered the Generalitat to give the same treatment to Spanish and Aranese in the exams.

On the doors of the classrooms of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona, a poster in the three languages reminds students that they have at their disposal "exams in the different co-official languages of Catalonia". In fact, yesterday the Universities Department assured that the only concession to fit the judicial resolution would be "to reinforce the communication" to inform the students, but they guaranteed that, by default, the tests would be given in Catalan, in fulfillment of the norm that establishes that it is "the vehicular and own language" of Catalonia.

Now, after the string of rules - how to attach the labels, that it is forbidden to leave the classroom for the duration of the exam and other trifles - the teacher said to the 22 students in the classroom: "Which of you want the exams in Spanish?" In total, out of 117 students taking the university entrance exams (PAU) in the UB, 16 asked to be able to have the exam papers in Spanish. This is 13%, a percentage slightly higher than the 5% recorded by the Universities Department in total and very similar to that of previous exam sessions. On the other hand, at the UAB only 1% of students asked for the exam papers in Spanish: according to the rector, only 67 of the more than 5,000 students who took the exams chose Spanish.

The Síndic de Greuges (Catalan Ombudsman) wanted to make a statement on the controversy, regretting that justice "is once again questioning linguistic immersion". In a communiqué, he also assured that the regulatory framework "fully supports" the distribution of exams in Catalan at the beginning.

"Easy" Spanish exam

The entry exams marked by the linguistic war in the courts have begun with the Spanish exam. In general, there have been exclamations of joy on leaving after an "affordable" exam that has gone quite well for the students. The students had heard about the High Court's decision, but it didn't really come as a shock to them and in general they said that they thought it was good to be able to choose the language of the statements. And despite the fact that the vast majority have chosen Catalan when taking the exam, it is quite another thing what happens beyond the classroom walls: when it comes to commenting on the results among themselves, many use Spanish.

All in all, an easy test to start a decisive examination week. This Wednesday morning it is the turn of Catalan exams.

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