Home LATEST NEWS Catalan language in schools sparks political debate in Spain

Catalan language in schools sparks political debate in Spain


With the slogan Now and always, school in Catalan!, thousands of people demonstrated on Saturday in Barcelona at the call of unions and independence parties in particular to defend the linguistic model of public schools in this region of the northeast of the country, where all subjects – except of course the Castilian, meaning Spanish – are taught in Catalan.

Even if it does not date from today, this debate on education in Catalonia has escalated after the parents of a five-year-old child from the town of Canet de Mar asked to enforce a court decision dating from November and requiring a minimum of 25% of lessons in Spanish.

This family has been the target of a torrent of insults on social networks, while the regional government, led by the separatists, is competent, as in other regions, in matters of education, and has been reluctant. the idea of ​​enforcing this decision.

Opposition attack on the government

Opposite, the right-wing opposition has made this affair the angle of all its attacks against the government of socialist Pedro Sanchez.

During a heated debate in parliament on Wednesday, the number one of the Popular Party (PP, right), Pablo Casado, showed a rare vulgarity by launching in an aggressive tone to Mr. Sanchez: But what the fuck has to happen in Spain for you to take responsibility?

At the head of a minority government, which needs the voices of the Catalan separatists to pass its key measures like its budget, the Socialist was content to announce his solidarity with Canet de Mar’s family and to recall that court decisions must apply.

Before accusing the right of ignite the debate, going so far as to speak linguistic apartheid.

Catalonia – whose idiom is like Basque or Galician, one of the co-official languages ​​of Spain – has applied for decades what is called language immersion, and reserves for Castilian only two hours in the majority of schools.

The separatists defend this model by asserting that Catalan is an endangered language that needs to be safeguarded, unlike Castilian.

Critics of this model accuse it of not guaranteeing a satisfactory learning of Spanish in this rich region of 7.8 million inhabitants.

This system is discriminatory, because children whose mother tongue is Catalan can be educated in this language, while our children cannot, affirms to AFPTV Doris López Rodríguez, of the Hispanohablantes association, which defends the use of Castilian.

New mobilization of separatists

In full doubt, four years after the failure of the 2017 secession attempt, the separatists see in this case the opportunity to remobilize their troops.

The separatist movement is very weak, opinion polls show it. Language is the subject he clings to […] to try to revitalize its electoral base, explains to theFrance Media Agency Oriol Bartomeus, professor of political science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

The separatist electorate is demotivated and marked by great frustration, great fatigue, he adds.

A frustration that comes in particular from the divisions between the different fringes of the movement, which are manifested again in this affair.

The Together for Catalonia party of ex-regional president Carles Puigdemont, with more radical postures, demands that the regional government, of which he is a part, clearly show its desire to disobey justice.

The Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), which is at the head of this government, proposed on the contrary an intermediate position amounting to putting two teachers, one in Catalan and one in Castilian.

A solution in line with the positioning of this moderate training, which advocates dialogue with the central government, and which has notably obtained in recent days from Mr. Sanchez’s executive public funding for production in Catalan for platforms such as Netflix, in return for its crucial budget support.

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