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New university teachers will have to certify a minimum knowledge of Catalan

The Catalan Government has passed a decree that sets a minimum requirement for the Catalan language when hiring new university teachers. Visiting lecturers and current teachers are excluded. Universities will have flexibility in certifying the level and will be able to set individual exceptions.

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15 September 2010 11:57 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- After a few weeks of announcements and counter-announcements, the Catalan Government has finally approved a decree that obliges new university teachers to have some Catalan language skills. The decree gives universities autonomy to apply the measure, which guarantees the right to receive higher education in both of the official languages in Catalonia, Spanish and Catalan. The decree affects both public and private universities in Catalonia. It focuses more on the understanding of the language to avoid cases such as when teachers claim to not understand exams written by students in Catalan. Currently university teachers can teach indistinctively in Catalan or Spanish, apart from classes taught on purpose in another language. The measure does not apply for current teachers, except if they wish to apply for a new position. There are other exemptions for special teaching positions: Visiting lecturers, other temporary positions, as well as emeritus and honorary professors are excluded from obtaining certification. According to the Government, the decree is flexible to ensure gathering new talent, indistinctively from where it comes from.


The Catalan Government\u2019s spokesperson and Minister for Public Works, Joaquim Nadal, has underlined, referring to the decree, that \u201Cthere is a broad spectrum of flexibility. It is more important to understand and address the fact than any other administrative or bureaucratic certification of language proficiency\u201D.

The decree will be effective from today on but universities and teachers will have time to adapt. Universities will have 6 months to adapt their rules and the decree will not go into full effect for another 2 years.

The President of the Catalan Government, who inaugurated the university year today, stressed that the decree \u201Cis not an obstacle in gathering new talent\u201D. Visiting lecturers and temporary staff are excluded. In addition, universities can determine exclusions for individual cases depending on the tasks assigned, such as researchers. Besides, universities will also be able to set temporary exemptions working on individual periods of adaptation. Lastly, Catalan language levels will be certified in 5 different ways including official Catalan language certificates, school diplomas or university tests. For these tests, universities will have the choice to set the requirements themselves, being able to adapt the level of Catalan language to their needs.

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  • Catalan President inaugurating today the university year, next to the Catalan Minister for Innovation, Universities and Business

  • Some members of the Catalan Government before approving the decree. On the left, Josep Huguet, Minister for Universities

  • Catalan President inaugurating today the university year, next to the Catalan Minister for Innovation, Universities and Business
  • Some members of the Catalan Government before approving the decree. On the left, Josep Huguet, Minister for Universities
New university teachers will have to certify a minimum knowledge of Catalan