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Catalan schools to provide part of their curriculum in English and to teach a second foreign language

Plans have been made by the Catalan Ministry of Education that will adjust the curricula of primary, secondary and vocational training schools to provide part of them in English. In addition, pupils will be taught a second foreign language, prioritising the mother tongues of new-comers. The changes will prioritise the improvement and expanding of foreign language learning by Catalan pupils. A pilot program will be run by 50 schools starting next September and by 2018 all Catalan schools should follow the plan. The new model will ensure that by the end of their studies students will have mastered both Catalan and Spanish, be proficient in English, and 75% of them will understand a second foreign language.

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16 July 2013 09:17 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- On Tuesday the Catalan Ministry of Education announced a plan that will change the curriculum of schools to include classes taught in English, with the aim to improve the learning of this language. In addition, pupils will also be taught a second foreign language, prioritising the mother tongues of new-comers (such as Arabic, Chinese, etc.) Next year a pilot program will be run in 50 schools and by 2018 the changes will have been made in all of Catalonian schools. The objective is that the next generation of students be fluent in both Catalan and Spanish and proficient in a foreign language, mostly English. However a few schools will offer another language, such as French and German, as the first language. On top of this, 75% of the pupils should also understand at least a fourth language. It is a priority of the Catalan Government that the linguistic and communicative competence of students is improved and that 50% of them reach a B1 level in their first foreign language by the age of 16 (at the end of the compulsory education period). The changes will ensure that students will have a sufficient level of English or another foreign language for when they enter the workplace.


In Catalonia’s schools, Catalan is the language of instruction in order to ensure that all pupils completely master both Catalan and Spanish by the end of their school period, in order to guarantee equal opportunities and social cohesion. However, some specific schools currently have part of their curriculum in another language than Catalan, following their own pedagogic model. Currently of the 3,625 schools in Catalonia 1,247 already provide part of their curriculum in English, while 459 do the same with Spanish, 25 in French and 5 in German. The Catalan Government approved plans on Tuesday that all schools will offer some subjects through the medium of English or another foreign language. “We have formulated a methodology that will come into effect in the coming years and will affect all schools,” explained the Catalan Minister of Education, Irene Rigau.

The new curriculum taught in a foreign language – which will be English for the majority of the cases – will be formulated in collaboration with numerous organisations including the University of Cambridge and the British Council. The changes will mean that at least 12% of the primary school curriculum will be in a foreign language. This figure for secondary schools will be range between 15-18% depending on the age. In addition, vocational training schools will also offer 15% of their curriculum in a foreign language. The Europe 2020 growth strategy predicts that by 2020 50% of 15 year olds will be able to maintain a simple conversation in their first foreign language. The objective of the Catalan Government is to reach this goal by 2018.

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  • The Catalan Education Minister, Irene Rigau, presenting the multilingualism plan (by R. Garrido)

  • The Catalan Education Minister, Irene Rigau, presenting the multilingualism plan (by R. Garrido)