The educational community calls for a new consensus around the Catalan linguistic model

  • “We must keep the school out of political battles and preserve the Catalan language,” they agree

  • Teachers call to update immersion to adapt it to the new social and pedagogical reality, but with Catalan as the axis

The educative community Catalan is especially restless these days as a result of the uproar that arose around the Turó del Drac school in Canet de Mar. For days she had already been worried about the Supreme Court’s endorsement of the TSJC’s ruling on 25% of Spanish in all schools in Catalonia and by reports pointing to a decrease in the use of Catalan in the educational environment. In this context, around fifty organizations that defend the school in catalan attended this Thursday to a summit for the language, convened by the ‘president’ Pere Aragonès. And from there they have come out with the conviction that a new consensus around the linguistic model Catalan. A consensus that recovers the broad historic agreement on Catalan as the central language in school and on the model of immersion. Model that coincide in diagnosing needs an update, to adapt it to the new sociolinguistic and pedagogical reality, but without losing sight of the fact that Catalan must continue to be the axis.

The entities consulted by EL PERIÓDICO that attended the summit – all defenders of the school in Catalan since entities that support a bilingual model were not summoned to the meeting – have agreed to positively assess the fact that there is a willingness to I don’t know instrumentalice the tongue or take the political conflicts to school. “You have to keep the school out of these controversies. You have to let the teachers work in peace,” is the common desire they have expressed and that they believe the Government took up at the meeting in Palau.

Maria Vinuesa placeholder image, from Rosa Sensat Teachers Association, points out that there was “unanimity that the Catalan language belongs to everyone and must be preserved”, keeping teachers and students out of any controversy. This was the axis of the interventions at the summit. “Language is communication, not confrontation. When there is confrontation, you do the language a bad favor,” warns this teacher. Too Pilar Gargallo, president of the Federation of Movements for Pedagogical Renewal (FMRP), celebrates that the Government “takes action from cohesion” and underlines the need to seek “the maximum consensus”, avoiding confrontation. In this sense, he assures that “there are no problems in schools because of the language.” “The issue must be depoliticized,” he claims.

From the Bofill Foundation, Elena Sintes defends the urgency of “preventing the school from being the center of a political battle.” “It is necessary to free the schools of this weight and remove them from the political confrontation. This is how we transmit it to the Government, which took the glove.” Sintes insists that the educational community needs that consensus that brings tranquility to schools so that they can focus on their task of educating and training.

The ‘former Minister’ of Education and current Secretary General of the Federation of Christian Schools of Catalonia (FECC), Meritxell Ruiz, ensures that “recovering the historical consensus would help reduce tension.” “It cannot be that the school is the object of political confrontation. We cannot put that pressure on the schools,” he warned. “We have to get the school out of that battle,” he insisted, because “the reality is that there is no linguistic conflict in schools.” Remember that the Education Law of Catalonia (LEC) was approved with 80% support in the Parliament. It is to this majority agreement that the educational community now appeals.

And it is possible to achieve it. This is how you see it Lluís Vila, president of the Federation of Parents of Students of Catalonia (FAPAES). “All the parties with which we have spoken are for the task of sitting down and agreeing on a new common framework in defense of Catalan,” he assures. “I think they will succeed. The opponents of this have little parliamentary representation. The rest is for the work,” he says. “We must leave partisanship aside. Seek an understanding,” he says, concerned about the decline in the social use of Catalan. “It is hard to find people who speak Catalan, whether in the yard, at work, in the street, in shops. We ask the whole of society to make an effort to put Catalan back into value,” he argues.

See it the same Carlos de Pablo (UGT). “83% of Catalan society agrees with the immersion model. The parties must be aware of this. The majority parties in the Parliament were part of that consensus that promoted the immersion system. They must be active. And the Government’s obligation is to integrate them all. The first thing it has to do is seek maximum consensus in Parliament. I trust that it will be like that. ” Too Teresa Esperabé (CCOO) he values ​​that at the summit there was an agreement “not to exploit the language or fall into partisanship” and that the defense of Catalan “must be based on consensus”. The majority union among teachers, the USTEC, is “waiting” for the Government’s intentions to materialize in facts. The same as Òmnium, who left the common front satisfied.

Update the dive

The teaching community admits that within the framework of this consensus, it will be necessary to review and update the immersion model. “It would be strange not to review a model created almost 40 years ago. Besides, the school is in a moment of deep change, with new methodologies, with a new pedagogical paradigm. The language cannot be left out of this review “, Vinuesa emphasizes. Rosa Sensat’s spokeswoman points out, however, that immersion is “to protect Catalan” and “that essence must not be lost.” Therefore, any revision must revolve “around Catalan, because it is the language of Catalonia”. “We will also have to look for mechanisms for coexistence with Spanish,” he adds. In this sense, Sintes points to a model with Catalan as the vehicular language but “inclusive and with coexistence”.

Along the same lines, Gargallo stresses that “Catalan society has changed. There are no longer just two languages, there are more than 200. The pedagogical model, now based on competences, has also changed. We must act to better serve students, especially in the ESO, since until now the immersion has been centered in the primary one “, describes. This revision, adds the president of the FMRN, should aim to improve the skills of students “in all languages, also in English.” That is where Meritxell Ruiz agrees: “We have to guarantee mastery of Catalan, Spanish and English.”

The ‘former councilor’ is also committed to reviewing the immersion – a model that it assures is still valid and current – but warns that this is “a pedagogical, not a political debate.” And he clarifies: “the debate on how to update this model has to be done by experts, teachers, who are the ones who know.”

safe yoland (USTEC) He adds another perspective: “It has to be reviewed because it is not being applied 100%. There is a devalued and minorized use of Catalan. And the work involves reinforcing Catalan.” He argues that “Spanish is guaranteed in Catalonia. There is no student who is not fluent in Spanish, but who is not fluent in Catalan. Therefore, the only way is for the vehicular language of education to be Catalan.” Esperabé points out that the update must be with “the same parameters, with Catalan as the vehicular language and guaranteeing skills in both languages.”

Regulations to shield the model

That consensus they demand is the one that should govern the new regulatory frameworkor that, as announced by Aragonès, it will shield the Catalan educational model. A framework that will underpin Catalan as a vehicular language and the immersion system. “We must achieve the maximum consensus here. It will not be easy, but we must adhere to the common objective: not to put the Catalan school at risk,” says Vinuesa.

Vila underlines the need for this new regulation, of which there are still no details on how it will be articulated, if through a decree, a law, or a regulation, “it has solid legal coverage” to avoid legal actions that the question or invalidate. “You have to have the intelligence to shield Catalan safely. Do not legislate for the sake of legislating”, points out the president of FAPAES, who insists that “Catalan must be defended as the gravitational axis of all teaching in Catalonia.”

On this regulatory framework, the ‘Minister’ of Education, Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, has indicated that it will be deployed “with political and pedagogical consensus” and that it will allow “to verify that learning is not a matter of percentages, but of pedagogy.” Cambray has admitted that “the school is not the same as it was 20 years ago, therefore the country’s linguistic project should not be the same”, in statements that open the door to this revision of immersion.

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Segura appeals to the Government to be “brave” and promote a law that “shields the school, the immersion and places Catalan as a vehicular language”. Remember that the LEC does not state that Catalan is a vehicular language – it is only included in the Statute – and gives this detail as an example of the “neglect” of the Generalitat. “They have not given enough importance to the Catalan and they had relaxed,” he added.

All these entities will meet this Saturday at the demonstration called by Som Escola in defense of the school in Catalan.

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