josé ignacio wert

Catalan Government forced to pay for private education in Spanish

March 5, 2014 09:17 PM | ACN

The Spanish Ministry of Education has released the decree proposal stating that the Catalan Government has the obligation to provide alternatives to families who request their children to be taught in Spanish in public schools, where Catalan is the first language of instruction and Spanish is mostly taught as a subject. Furthermore, Catalonia and all other Autonomous Communities with two official languages will have “to fully assume” the costs of these children’s education in privately-owned schools using Spanish as the language of instruction if the families do not find the appropriate public alternative. The money will be deducted from the Autonomous Communities’ funding scheme if they do not cooperate. However, the decree does not work the other way round in regions such as Valencia, where families are having problems to school their children in Catalan (co-official there).

Catalan school system against Hispanicisation and the Spanish Government’s Education Reform

February 11, 2014 04:04 PM | ACN

On Tuesday Catalonia’s education stakeholders – including unions, pedagogic organisations and parent associations – asked the Catalan Executive and Parliament to lead “the boycott” of the Spanish Government’s Education Reform, known as LOMQE. This reform aims to recentralise education powers, foster religion and impose Spanish as a language of instruction in Catalonia. Furthermore, on Monday evening thousands of people demonstrated in front of Catalonia’s High Court (TSJC) in support of the current school model in Catalonia, which is based on the linguistic immersion principle that guarantees the knowledge of both Spanish and Catalan. Political parties, trade unions, cultural associations and teaching organisations were protesting against the TSJC’s recent ruling that imposed a requirement that 25% of a school’s curriculum be taught in Spanish if a single pupil asks for it. The TSJC was interpreting a judgement by the Spanish Supreme Court, framed in a broader offensive against Catalan language.

The Catalan Government will not change “a single comma” of the school model

February 4, 2014 07:41 PM | ACN

In order “to guarantee the general interest”, the Catalan Executive rejects changing “a single comma” of the linguistic immersion model in place in Catalonia’s school system despite the latest judicial sentences forcing to introduce Spanish as a language of instruction, as confirmed by the Government’s Spokesperson Francesc Homs. The Catalan Executive “will continue to implement Catalonia’s Education Law (LEC)” and will file an appeal against last week’s sentence issued by the Catalan High Court (TSJC), interpreting a previous decision from the Spanish Supreme Court. Furthermore, the Catalan Council for Constitutional Guarantees – an independent advisory body on jurisdiction matters – stated that the Spanish Government’s Education Reform is “unconstitutional” and goes against Catalonia’s self-government and its own laws such as the LEC.

Courts request Catalan schools to teach “at least 25%" of the mandatory subjects in Spanish

January 31, 2014 08:44 PM | ACN

Catalonia’s High Court has interpreted the last sentence of the Spanish Supreme Court and forces the Catalan Government to offer “at least” 25% of the mandatory school curricula in Spanish in the schools where pupils ask for it. A dozen of parents had complained in the last few years, filing several appeals and stating they wanted their children to be taught in Spanish in Catalonia’s public schools. The Catalan school model is based on the linguistic immersion principle and almost all the subjects are taught in Catalan except Spanish which is taught as a language. However, the system includes many flexibility measures for new-comers and individualised attention in Spanish. The Spanish Supreme Court considered this was insufficient and sentenced that a class had to be taught in Spanish if the family of a single pupil asked for it and even if the other children’s families had not requested it.

All the Autonomous Communities not run by the People’s Party reject the Education Reform

January 30, 2014 01:32 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government and the other four Autonomous Community executives that are not run by the People’s Party (PP) are totally opposed to the Spanish Executive’s Education Reform, which recentralises powers, homogenises curricula, fosters the presence of religion and sidelines Catalan language and history. The Reform has raised a huge controversy in Catalonia, since it ends the Catalan school model that has been in place for the last 35 years and is backed by a large consensus. On Wednesday the Education Ministers of Catalonia, the Basque Country, Andalusia, Asturias and the Canaries criticised the Spanish Government’s “lack of dialogue”. They pointed out “the improvisation, precipitation and imposition” of the Spanish Education Minister, José Ignacio Wert. They also argued that it is “impossible” to “implement” the Reform in the next school-year.

Supreme Court insists Spanish must be teaching language if requested by one pupil

January 27, 2014 09:14 PM | ACN

In appeal, the Spanish Supreme Court has sided with the family who requested their son to be taught in Spanish in school, alongside Catalan. Despite the Constitution not advocating pupils had “the right to be taught in Spanish”, but only stating they had “the right and duty to know Spanish”, a dozen families have requested their children to be taught in this language, turning to the judicial system. Whilst the Constitutional Court has validated on two occasions the Catalan schooling system, based on Catalan as first language of instruction, the Supreme Court ruled against it. The Catalan Government was offering individualised attention to these children, but the judicial decision states that Spanish has to be used for “the entire class of the pupil”, even though the rest of the pupils have not requested to be taught in this language.

Spanish Government defends teaching a single history of Spain

January 17, 2014 03:32 PM | ACN

The Spanish Education Minister, José Ignacio Wert, emphasised the need to have a common and single history of Spain taught in all the Autonomous Communities. With the Education Reform he is currently proposing, the history curriculum will be imposed by Madrid and the Autonomous Communities will only be able to add a small portion referring to their own history. However, such additional contentswill be excluded from the final exams and therefore pupils will tend to ignorethem. With this initiative, Wert aims to impose a single interpretation of the historic facts affecting Spain’s history and nation-building. Lately, the Spanish Government, run by the People’s Party (PP), has repeatedly stated that Spain is “the oldest nation in Europe” and is now focusing on the education system to spread this idea.

Catalan President “demands” a self-determination vote in ‘New Europe’

January 13, 2014 02:06 PM | ACN

Artur Mas, President of the Catalan Government, signed an article published in New Europe’s special edition ‘Our world in 2014’, explaining why Catalans want to hold a self-determination vote on the 9th of November, 2014. The European section of the publication includes articles from the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, the Italian PM Enrico Letta, the UK Finance Minister George Osborne and two EU Commissioners, Neelie Kroes and Androulla Vassilliou, among others. In his article, Mas asked the Spanish Government to “abide by its professed democratic principles and to allow the referendum”. The Catalan President explained why a majority of Catalans are supporting independence from Spain due to historical, political, economic, cultural and identity-related reasons. “In twenty-first century Europe, we solve these disputes peacefully and democratically, with ballot boxes and votes” he stated.

Catalonia, the Basque Country, Andalusia, Asturias and the Canaries oppose the Spanish Government’s Education Reform

October 29, 2013 10:24 PM | ACN

The controversial Reform of the Education System continues its progress towards parliamentary approval, now in the Spanish Senate. The Catalan Education Minister, Irene Rigau, stated that with the new law – which “recentralises” and totally “invades” devolved powers – the Autonomous Communities are “delegations of the Central Government”. Furthermore, Rigau asked the Spanish Education Minister, José Ignacio Wert, “to be brave” and “eliminate” the Reform’s points regarding the language immersion principle. This Reform goes against the Catalan school model, which has been in place since the early 1980s and is backed by an almost-total consensus in Catalonia. Rigau pointed out that only 26 cases out of 1.2 million pupils in Catalonia had requested a different model than the one offered. According to her, changing the entire education system and the language equilibrium in Catalonia for 26 families is “abusive and counterproductive”.

The Spanish Parliament approves the Education Reform against Catalan school model with only the PP’s votes

October 10, 2013 09:20 PM | ACN

The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, used its absolute majority in the Spanish Parliament to pass a controversial reform of the Education System, which is not supported by the teachers’ unions or the rest of the political parties. Among several aspects, the new law goes against the Catalan school model, based on the linguistic immersion principle, which guarantees that all pupils master both Spanish and Catalan by the end of their studies, ensuring equal opportunities. The reform is the personal project of Spain’s Education Minister, José Ignacio Wert, who used to collaborate in far-right television channels. The Catalan Education Minister, Irene Rigau, confirmed that she will take the new law to the Constitutional Court and stated that the reform will not be implemented in Catalonia in 2014.

Political parties agree on a common strategy to face the Spanish Government's Education Law against the Catalan language

May 29, 2013 01:23 AM | CNA

The parties defending the current Catalan school model, which represent 80% of Catalonia’s Parliament, met on Tuesday to discuss how to face the Spanish Government’s Education Reform, known as LOMCE. They all agreed to act together in Madrid to try to change the law. The Catalan Government proposed modifying the reform in the Spanish Parliament in order to make it honour Catalonia’s main law – approved via a binding referendum – which clearly states that Catalan is the language of instruction. The Catalan school model is based on the linguistic immersion principle, guaranteeing equal opportunities and social cohesion. The Spanish Executive’s Education Reform aims to stop linguistic immersion and allow parents to choose Spanish as their children’s language of instruction.

Madrid to oblige the Catalan Government to pay for a privately-owned school if a pupil wants to study in Spanish

May 18, 2013 12:53 AM | CNA

The Spanish Government has approved its Education Reform, which aims to make Spanish a teaching language in Catalonia and reduces the Autonomous Communities’ power to manage their education system. The new law states the Spanish Government is to decide on the curricula of the main subjects, such as History. In addition, tests will be set at the end of the schoolstages and their contents will be exclusively decided from Madrid. Since the tests will be the same for the whole of Spain, items regarding Catalan culture, geography or history will not enter into the final examinations. The Catalan Education Minister, Irene Rigau, considered the law to be “pre-democratic” and “re-centralist”. She also stated that “it is impossible to honour it in Catalonia”, since privately-owned schools teach in Catalan and the law goes against the Catalan Statute of Autonomy (Catalonia’s main law).

'Keep Calm and Speak Catalan', a poster of passive resistance

April 26, 2013 07:57 PM | Clara Roig Medina / Laia Ros

The poster ‘Keep Calm and Speak Catalan’ was created by Josep Maria Ganyet, expert in digital communication, in order to protest against the draft law proposed by the Spanish Minister of Education which puts at risk the school model of linguistic immersion in use in Catalonia since the end of Franco’s dictatorship. The poster, in its origin a tweet, came from the fields of social media and reached Congress as a symbol of passive resistance directed at those aiming to alter the Catalan school model. It refers to the historical poster ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, which also became one of the most wide spread pop icons.

Rajoy's measures against linguistic immersion questioned by Brussels and the Spanish State Council

April 25, 2013 01:56 AM | CNA

The European Commissioner for Education, Culture and Multilingualism, promised Catalan Euro MPs to ask the Spanish Government – chaired by Mariano Rajoy - about the Education Reform it is preparing, which goes against the linguistic immersion model of Catalonia’s school system. According to the Catalan MEPs, Androulla Vassiliou was “a bit perplexed” about the Spanish Government’s initiative and the recent judicial sentences obliging teaching to be in Spanish if a single pupil in the classroom asks for it. Besides, the Spanish State Council – the Spanish Government’s top advisory body – criticised the reform’s measure obliging the Catalan Executive to pay for private schools in Spanish for the pupils who do not want to attend public schools in Catalan. The Catalan Education Minister asked the Spanish Government “to paralyse” the reform.

Catalonia’s Supreme Court asks for Spanish to be made a teaching language in schools if a single pupil requests it

April 11, 2013 12:11 AM | CNA

The Catalan Education Minister will appeal the decision to the Spanish Supreme Court and meanwhile will not follow the petition of the Catalan Supreme Court (TSJC). The Minister stressed that “the classroom language cannot change just because a child asks for it”. She emphasised that only 17 families have asked to have their children schooled in Spanish. These kids received individualised attention in Spanish but the TSJC thought it was not enough. In the last few years, the Catalan school model has been put in the spotlight by Spanish nationalism, despite having been in place for the last 30 years. The model has shown that pupils perfectly command both languages by the end of their studies. It has also been praised by international organisations, as it guarantees equal opportunities and social cohesion.