Irene Rigau: a veteran politician and teacher in charge of Education

The new Catalan Minister for Education was the CiU’s manager of this portfolio for seven years, while the party was not in power. She has experience, both as a primary school and university teacher. Over the last 30 years, she has held several positions in politics, mainly working on education issues, with the exception of the period in which she was the Catalan Minister for Social Welfare and Family (1999-2003).


December 30, 2010 11:00 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Irene Rigau now consolidates her career within the education sector and the Catalan Government. She returns as a Minister, after 7 years in the opposition, but this time in her main area of expertise: education. For the last 7 years she was the CiU’s spokesperson for education, negotiating with and criticising the former Minister, Ernest Maragall. In fact, she agreed with Maragall on Catalonia’s first education law. However, she has also been implacable in criticising some of Maragall’s most controversial decisions and the Ministry’s management of resources. Rigau was born in Banyoles in 1951, near Girona. She is a psychology graduate who worked in her early years as a kindergarten and primary education teacher. Later, she was an education inspector and university teacher at Girona University and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Catalonia’s public online university).

She started to work in politics in the early 1980s, when the CiU took over the Catalan Government. Since 1980, she has been a member of Catalonia’s Education Council. In 1982, she was the Head of the Education Territorial Service of the Catalan Government in the Girona Province, a position she held until 1986. Then, she became the Secretary of the School Council of Catalonia until 1989. That year, she held her first executive position, as Deputy Director General for Further Education (1989-1993). In 1993, she was appointed Secretary of the Inter-university Council of Catalonia (1993-1999), in charge of Catalan universities’ curriculums, funding and student access.

In 1999, she became a Minister in the Catalan Government, in charge of Social Welfare and Family. In 2003, when the CiU had to leave the Government, she came back to education issues as the CiU’s spokesperson in the Catalan Parliament’s Commission on Education and Universities. She also chaired the Policy Evaluation Committee for People with Disabilities. Within her party, she is a member of the National Council of the Liberal party, Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), the party’s main body. She is the party’s Secretary for Education and Universities and is also a member of the CDC’s Permanent Secretariat and the CDC’s Executive, the party’s governing body.