Catalan in the classroom

A school in Canet de Mar will have to teach 25% of classes in Spanish as of Thursday

The complaint was made by a family that demanded 50% in each language

2 min
Students in a classroom, in an archive image

BarcelonaA 5-year-old pupil's family has demanded half the lessons at Escola Turó del Drac in Canet de Mar, in the Maresme, be taught in Spanish. Catalonia's Court of Justice is studying the petition and, for the moment, it has imposed precautionary measures that oblige the school to teach 25% of classes in Spanish. A group of parents have denounced the situation and are organising to respond to the situation, after it was confirmed by school director, Àngels Ferrer, who has declined to make statements on this issue. The news comes just days after the Spanish Supreme Court rejected the Generalitat's appeal against Catalonia's High Court ruling that established 25% of classes had to be taught on Spanish. This forced all Catalan schools to use Spanish a quarter of the time.

In parallel, some families have been asking the courts that their children receive 25% of classes in Spanish. Since 2005, only eighty families in Catalonia have asked for this, and in all cases the courts have ruled in their favour. Also in all cases the schools affected have complied with the decisions and the class the complainant family's child was in received 25% of classes in Spanish.

In the case of Canet, at the beginning of this academic year, the family of a five-year-old pupil requested that the Department of Education that half the classes be taught in Spanish and half in Catalan. The request was rejected by the department and subsequently the family filed an appeal to Catalonia's High Court, which has imposed a 25% minimum as a precautionary measure until it rules on the issue.

According to the school, this 25% would come into effect from Wednesday, December 8, and would mean that three afternoons and two hours in the mornings each week would have to be in Spanish, up to 6 hours and 30 minutes every week. In addition, the school material of these classes will be in Spanish. The school board, following the guidelines set by the Department of Education, will comply with the court order, and from next Thursday classes in Spanish for that class will represent 25% of the total.

The school met all the families of pupils in that class yesterday, in order to explain the situation. According to sources consulted by the ARA, the school's position was understood, but at the same time a group of parents who disagree with the changes decided to mobilise. Thus, these families have denounced that the resolution "rethinks the Catalan school model" and the "linguistic immersion project" for students in P5A, as well as opening the possibility that the same situation occurs "in the school's other years". For the moment, the changes will only affect P5A. One of the challenges the school faces is to avoid this situation affecting the child, so the priority is to preserve his anonimity.