Catalan government appeals schools' 25% Spanish quota deadline
Executive announces decree 'to protect schools' in attempt to keep Catalan immersion system despite judicial rulings
Ciudadanos complain to European parliament over Catalan government stance on Spanish in schools
Party accuses Spanish government of being "complicit" in Catalan executive's "disobediance"
Unionist party leaders want Spanish as working language in all schools
Heads of PP and Cs parties accuse Catalan educational system of "indoctrinating" students in favor of independence
28% of families born outside Catalonia use Catalan language with their children
60.2% of families with one parent born outside Catalonia use Catalan with their children and 27.5% of natives with both parents born outside use Catalan with their children, according to data from 2013 coming from the Language Policy Report 2014 released this week. Ferran Mascarell, the Catalan Minister for Culture, said that "Catalan health remains" and said that "Catalan has passed a phase that was complicated because there have been significant demographic changes," along with technological changes and negative Spanish Government's policies. In Catalonia, the majority of the population 15 years and older claimed to understand, speak, read and write in Catalan: 94.3% understood, 80.4% could speak, 82.4% could read and 60.4% could write. Besides, while 48.1% of the population above 15 has a high level of Catalan in all language abilities, 26.6% reported important deficits in using or understanding the language.
Supreme Court of Catalonia rejects Madrid's petition to reopen school enrolment to include Spanish as a tuition language
Catalonia's Supreme Court (TSJC) has ruled against the petition filed by the Spanish Ministry of Education that asked to reopen the enrolment process for the next school year in order to use registration forms in which parents could explicitly choose whether they wanted their children to be taught in Spanish as an instruction language. In the last few years, the Spanish Government has been undertaking a judicial battle to change Catalonia's school model, which has been developed with an extremely wide consensus over the last 35 years and completely guarantees the knowledge of both Spanish and Catalan, as results show. The model is based on the linguistic immersion principle, through which children are mostly taught in Catalan, although many flexible measures are included. However, the Spanish Government would like to have Spanish as an instruction language as well, despite most of the pedagogic experts considering that if this were the case, many children from Spanish-speaking environments would not have a proficient knowledge of Catalan and would not be bilingual.
Paul Preston: comparing current Spanish language's situation in Catalonia to Franco's repression of Catalan is "ridiculous"
The renowned Hispanicist Paul Preston, Professor of International History at the London School of Economics (LSE), received an honorary PhD from Tarragona’s Rovira i Virgili University (URV) on Friday. Before the ceremony, Preston seized the opportunity to state that comparing the Spanish language's current situation in Catalonia to that of the Catalan language during Franco's dictatorship "is ridiculous". "In 35 years no one told me anything for not speaking Catalan", he said in perfect Catalan. Preston's remarks follow controversial statements by the Spanish Minister for Education José Ignacio Wert on Wednesday. In particular, the Spanish Minister was recorded stating that "the situation of Spanish [language] in the education system of Catalonia, limited to being used as a non-tuition language, like any foreign language, is comparable to the situation of Catalan [language] in the times they like so much to remember", referring to Franco's dictatorship.
Outrage over Spanish Education Minister comparing linguistic immersion in Catalan with Francoism
The Spanish Minister for Education, José Ignacio Wert, has been recorded stating that "the situation of Spanish in the education system of Catalonia, limited to being used as a non-tuition language, like any foreign language, is comparable to the situation of Catalan in the times they like so much to remember", referring to Franco's dictatorship. Wert made the statement on Wednesday with a group of journalists and one of them recorded it. His words were immediately replied to by many Catalan parties, and Wert had to clarify a few hours later that he had expressed himself in a wrong way. He then said that Catalan was persecuted during Francoism "in a ruthless way" and that such persecution was "abominable". However, his previous statement is to be added to a long list, such as when in October 2012 he said that "Catalan pupils must be Hispanicised", defending the cultural homogenisation promoted by Spanish nationalism for the last centuries.
Supreme Court rules 25% of school subjects to be taught in Spanish, against Catalonia's own model
Spain's Supreme Court has once again ruled against the Catalan school model, following the individual appeals of a very small group of parents that wanted their children to be schooled in Spanish within Catalonia's public education system. Spain's Supreme Court (TS) has backed the decision of the Catalan Supreme Court (TSJC) to oblige schools in Catalonia to teach "at least 25%" of their subjects in Spanish, including "at least" one core subject. The TS considers such a share to be "reasonable and proportionate". It also admitted that by imposing such a share, the TSJC was "substituting" the role of the Catalan Government and Parliament. However, the TS justified such an invasion of powers because it considers the Catalan Government to have disobeyed its previous rulings and not changed the school model to make sure that children can also have Spanish as a regular tuition language if parents request this. However, the TS’ decisions are far from reasonable, according to a broad majority of Catalan society, since it breaks social cohesion and a model approved by an extremely broad consensus that perfectly guarantees the knowledge of both Spanish and Catalan.
New attack on Catalan school model by Spanish Government: an appeal against next year’s enrolment
The Spanish Ministry of Education has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Catalonia (TSJC) to cancel the already-sent enrolment applications for the next school year in order to include the option of choosing Spanish as the language of tuition. Five parties representing 80% of the Catalan Parliament have strongly protested against this "new attack" on a school model that guarantees that pupils master both Spanish and Catalan and has many flexibility measures for newcomers. The model is also backed by an extremely broad majority of Catalan society and only a few dozen families, out of the 1.55 million pupils in Catalonia, had requested education in Spanish. Linguistic immersion in Catalan ensures knowledge of the language by children who are not regularly exposed to it, while the model also ensures knowledge of Spanish. Therefore, equal opportunities and complete bilingualism are ensured. However, the model has been the target of Spanish nationalists for a long time.
PP splits Valencian society with its Identity Signs Law against Catalan language and scientific criteria
The People's Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government and holds an absolute majority in the regional parliament of the Valencian Community (also called Valencian Country), has approved the Law on Identity Signs with votes from party members only. The Law entered into force this Friday. The new regional rule sets what are Valencia's identity symbols and traditions, and also insists on defining Valencian as a totally different language from Catalan, going against all scientific studies and experts. It also foresees sanctions for any organisation which states that Valencian is a dialect of Catalan. During the last few decades, Valencian regionalist politicians – most of whom have a strong Spanish nationalist ideology – have been working on differentiating the Valencian dialect from Catalan spoken in the rest of the territories that have Catalan as their native language. The PP has strongly contributed to this split, politicising the unity of Catalan language and also splitting Valencian society over identity issues.
Manifesto in defence of Catalan language in Aragon after regional government eliminates last legal trace
The regional Government of Aragon, run by the People's Party (PP), has removed the last legal trace of the Catalan and Aragonese languages in the region. This action has provoked a civil and political movement in defence of both languages spoken by thousands of citizens in the Aragonese Pyrenees and in “la Franja” (the Strip), a narrow piece of land in the eastern part of the region, bordering Catalonia. Since 1999, the Aragonese Cultural Heritage Act recognised Catalan and Aragonese as “minority languages from Aragon” and as a “specially protected cultural wealth”. However, the regional Parliament, led by the People’s Party (PP) and the Regionalist Aragonese Party (PAR), passed a law that ends this protection and the denomination of "Catalan" and "Aragonese".
Juan Goytisolo, author from Barcelona, scoops prestigious Cervantes Prize 2014
Juan Goytisolo (born 1931 in Barcelona) is the latest winner of the Cervantes Prize, which is considered to be the Nobel Prize for literature in Spanish. On Monday at noon, the jury’s verdict was read by Spain’s Minister for Culture, José Ignacio Wert, and it emphasised the author’s "ability to delve into language", his "complex stylistic proposals" and "his desire to bring together" different cultures. Goytisolo, who currently resides in Marrakech (Morocco), will receive the award at a ceremony to be held on April 23 in Alcalá de Henares, in Madrid's region. The Cervantes Prize is awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and is worth €125,000. Goytisolo's works have been translated into English, French, German, Polish, Slovak and Romanian, among others.