Catalan Government warns PP and C’s: “Get your hands off our education system”
The Catalan government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, criticised on Monday the agreement between the conservative People’s Party (PP) and liberal Ciutadans (C’s), which includes a compromise to exchange the immersion education system in Catalonia, in place since the regaining of democracy, for a trilingual model. In a TV interview, Munté said that Catalonia won’t change “a single comma” of its school system, which she reminded is entrusted by law and attracts a “very broad consensus” in the country. According to Munté, C’s “changes its principles depending on which way the wind blows” in Spain, but has always kept intact its aim to “kill the immersion system” in Catalonia.
Barcelona (CNA).- The Catalan government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, criticised on Monday the agreement between the conservative People’s Party (PP) and liberal Ciutadans (C’s), which includes a compromise to exchange the immersion education system in Catalonia for a trilingual model. “Get your hands off our education system”, she warned them, defending a school system that has been in place in Catalonia since the regaining of independence and which attracts a “very broad consensus” in the country. Munté said that they won’t change “a single comma” of Catalonia’s school system, entrusted by law.
The Catalan government spokeswoman said that C’s, led by Albert Rivera, “changes its principles depending on which way the wind blows” in Spain. However, she added, the party has always kept true to its “founding principle”, that is, in her view, an “aim to kill the immersion education system” in Catalonia.
The PP and C’s have agreed on a 150-point plan that includes economic, social and institutional measures. Amongst them, a controversial commitment to introduce a trilingual model in schools that would de facto suspend the current Catalan immersion system. The PP and C’s plan for government will be presented by current Spanish President Mariano Rajoy to Congress on Wednesday. MPs will then vote on it, with a second ballot expected on Friday if the first one fails. Until now, PP and C’s have not achieved enough votes to win a majority in Madrid and be able to form a government.
In Catalan schools, Catalan is the language of instruction in order to guarantee that all pupils end their studies knowing both Catalan, which not everyone learns at home, and Spanish, which is widely used both in the media and on the street. The model has been praised as a successful tool to boost cohesion in Catalonia amongst different linguistic communities.
However, C’s has always campaigned against this system, saying that it discriminates against Spanish families that want their children to be taught in the Spanish language. They propose, instead, a trilingual model according to which pupils will be taught in English, Spanish and Catalan. Those against this proposal, including the main political parties in Catalonia, argue that it would damaging. A recent report by the Council of Europe warned Spain that the trilingual system, introduced in the Balearic Islands and Valencia, may have a “negative effect on education” in the Catalan language and urged the government to exercise “extreme caution”.
“We are calm because we are protected by the Catalan Education Law, the Statute (the Catalan Constitution) and because there is a broad consensus in favour of linguistic immersion”, said Neus Munté. Education is a devolved power in Spain, which means regions have the competence to decide about their education system. Munté said that the MPs from liberal Partit Demòcrata Català (PDC), the old Convergència, will vote ‘no’ with “rotundity” and consider an abstention “unthinkable”.