Teachers occupy education ministry demanding negotiation and action

Catalan lecturers protest against new school calendar, imposition of 25% of lessons in Spanish, and education curriculum changes

Two teachers during the Catalan education ministry on February 17, 2022 (by Laura Fíguls)
Two teachers during the Catalan education ministry on February 17, 2022 (by Laura Fíguls) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 18, 2022 10:02 AM

Several Catalan teachers have spent the night from Thursday to Friday inside the education ministry building in Barcelona. Lecturers demanded a meeting with Catalan minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray as they want the newly proposed academic year schedule to be scrapped.

The meeting between the minister and several unions happened on Friday morning, but no agreement was reached.

Teachers demonstrated during Thursday afternoon in front of the building in the Catalan capital before entering the ministry and occupying the top floor.

After gaining access to the facility, teachers hung up posters urging Gonzàlez-Cambray to resign. Unions criticize the minister after "refusing to negotiate with the education community," a joint letter reads.

They say they will not stop protesting until the official "faces the consequences" and offers a "real negotiation," the letter continues.

On Friday morning, teachers and students unions called for a strike from the whole education sector on March 23. 

Recent important changes

The education sector is facing several important changes in the near future.

The 2022-23 school year will start between September 5 and 7, one week earlier than usual, as announced by the minister on February 10.

The suggestion was not welcomed by several teachers’ unions in Catalonia as it was authorized without the School Council's approval.

Another problem faced by teachers is the court imposition of 25% of lessons to be given in Spanish, as a Supreme Court ruling sentenced in November 2021.

Additionally, there are discrepancies over the education curriculum. With the new changes, students will not get a "fail" mark but instead, a result of "achievement in process." Years ago, it used to be "improvement needed" or "insufficient."

Some experts consider the proposed naming will make sure children remain motivated when studying as they will not relate the mark with a failure.