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Catalan Language in Education (In Transit #27)


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Catalan Language in Education (In Transit #27)

Source: IT In Transit

Date: May 2014.

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Catalan Language in Education (In Transit #27)

  1. 1. Catalan Language in Education Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 14/05/2014 The issue of the rule that Catalan langauge has to play in our Education system is one of the most controversial in our society. Most of the focus of Sapnish public opinion are on Catalan language, because of the fact that it’s our main identity sign. And, very specially, public opinion, all around the kingdom of Spain, is foccusing on the rule of Catalan language in Education. All around the territories where the Catalan language is spoken, there are several ways of teaching Catalan (and in Catalan) in their Education systems. In Catalonia, the educational reform mouvement, at the end of Franco’s dictatorship and at the beginning of new democratic era, stablished a main principle: if we have to live together, we have to be educated together. That’s the principle of non segregation in schools by language. In Catalonia, and so was done in the Balearic Islands, there is only one education system, with no distinction from language, born place, religion, or other particular circumstances. After having decided which one should be our model of Education, it was decided about which languages should be taught, which one should be the vehicular one, and so on and so forth. To decide the main language in Education it was necessary to take into account our Statute of Autonomy. In Catalonia, like in the Balearic Islands and in the old Valencian Kingdom, there were two official languages (Catalan and Spanish). Nowadays, in Catalonia –the only country in Europe together with Luxembourg-, there are three official languages: Catalan, Occitan –for our historic minority, Occitan speaking, in Aran Valley- and Spanish. It is the purpose of our autonomy to make all the citizens capable to speak, read and write Catalan and Spanish. Could it have been possible with strict bilingualism in Education? For sure, it wouldn’t have been possible. Spanish was the fully dominant language and Catalan was in a subordinated position in our society. The best way to achieve the goals of our autonomy was teaching in Catalan and adopting a good knowledge of second and third languages (in our case, Spanish and mainly English) –in the case of Aran Valley you should add allways Occitan aranese-. In the Balearic Islands, the way was teaching at least 50% of lessons in Catalan and the lasting 50% distributed among Catalan, Spanish and, eventually, also English. There were schools were Catalan was taught in, say, 70%, Spanish 20% and English 10%; others with Catalan 50%, Spanish 25%, English 25%, etc, according with the wish of each school communtiy. In the Valencian Country, there are two lines in their school system: on taught in Spanish and the other mainly in Catalan (called officialy Valencian). Parents can choose one line or other, according with their wishes. Unfortunatelly, there are many parents who want to chose Valencian, but they aren’t able to do it because of the lack of offer in this language. But it doesn’t seem to be a great problem for the Spanish government or for the Popular Party. Where Catalan speakers ara a minority the situation of our language in Education is very fragile. In Aragon, with two minority language (Catalan and Aragonese), there is no official recognition for these minorities, and Catalan is taught only voluntarily, and outside school timetable, in schools and high schools. In spite of this fact, about 70% of Catalan speaking pupils in Aragon are learning Catalan nowadays. So is happening in Carxe, in Murcia region. In Northern Catalonia there is an official recognition of Catalan language attached to municipalities. In Perpignan or in Prada, Catalan is an official language. And people is implementing an Education network in Catalan (Bressola for primary school, and bilingual high schools), where not only Catalan is taught, but it is also a language mean for Education. So it’s improving nowadays in Alghero, Sardinia, where Catalan is the historic language. During these last years, the preasure of Spanish PP on Catalan language in Education has increased. During the whole process, some small associations have tried to avoid Catalan in several fields in Education, but generally they didn’t succeed. But nowadays they can rely also in the government action by PP in Spain, and also in the Valencian Country and in the Balearic Islands, where nowadays this political party is in office. In Valencia there is just continuity. The defeating strategy is just leasing it flow as usual: two lines, no places enough for those who want eduction in Catalan for their children... In the Balearic Islands, PP’s Government has promoted legal changes: since last year the knowledge of Catalan language is not necessary to became public servant in Balearic autonomous region; toponims are legal not just in Catalan but also in Spanish; and, in the field of Education, they try to implant a system with three languages: Catalan, Spanish and English. In fact, they don’t have a real plan to implement teaching throw English generally: then, the impact of the new decisions is only a decrease in the use of Catalan language and an increase in the use of the Spanish language, breaking the equilibrium among both official languages. Bernat Joan, Professor of Catalan Philology and a Sociolinguist seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter EDITORIAL
  2. 2. The pressure on Catalan language in Education is very high in the Valencian country, notably high, specially till president Bauzá came in office, in the Balearic Islands. And, in this strategy, pressure is starting to take place usually also in Catalonia. On one hand, the Spanish Constitutional Court promulgated a sentence in 2010 interfering the use of Catalan as vehicular language in Catalonia’s Education system. More recently the High Court of Justice of Catalonia has stablished that, if only one student asks to be taught in Spanish, at least 25% of lessons are to be given in this language. On the other hands, there are parents that claim Education in Spanish for their children, avoiding the normal process to learn also Catalan as well. It is strongly surprising this vindication of the right of ignorance, but it’s a political tool against normalisation of use for the Catalan language. For the Government of Catalonia, the goal is to achieve a good knowledge of Catalan language, and as well, good language competence in Spanish and in another language, mainly English. Learning Catalan (or learning Occitan, in the Aran valley) is not contradictory with learning Spanish, English or/and other languages. It’s just the contrary: when a person became bilingual it’s easier to learn a third language; and, then, it’s even easier to learn the fourth. That’s a absolutly coherent goal with Europe 2020 Strategy in the field of langauge planning in the European Union. We need citizens capable of speaking several languages (mother tongue plus two, minimum), living in multilingual societies, capable to push towards the future all the languages of Europe. Because plurality and diversity are our motto. Photo: Bernat Joan
  3. 3. Catalan in education Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 With democracy the language was recuperated in education. However, the introduction of Catalan in the classrooms was very unequal with regards to the region. Thus, while in Catalonia and the Balearics a linguistic model has been adopted, in accordance with the policy that Catalan is the principal vehicular language, the Valencian region has followed a radically different model where parents can use, in theory, the language in which their children are schooled. Catalan was excluded from education between the seventeenth and twen- tieth century, at the same pace as the various states in which the language is spoken began to insist that obligatory education be taught in the language of the respective states. However, the different social sectors of the region have always been aware that schooling is a decisive area for the region’s progress and the vitality of the language, in a sense that the demands to introduce Catalan into teaching and the complaints about its banishments were frequent throughout this period. From the twentieth century onwards, especially in Catalonia, the situation started to change with the advance of political Catalanism, first encouraged by the Mancomunitat and later by the republican Generalitat. Effecti- vely, the Statute of Catalonia from 1932 introduced the learning of Catalan and teaching in Catalan to all levels of education for the first time. Unfortunately, the autonomous period was very short, although its work set the foundation which, decades later, would allow sectors of teaching professionals to maintain the Catalan langua- ge, even in the midst of Franco’s regime, when the language was prohibited, and its use chased. The recuperation of democracy and a certain degree of autonomy in the Catalanophile regions included in the Spanish Kingdom allowed the language to be recuperated in teaching, and its example was a stimulus for the rest of the linguistic domain. However, this recuperation has been very unequal all over the region and terri- torial and administrative fragmentation means, that today, the position of Catalan in the educational world varies enormously in accordance with the place to which we are referring. In general terms, we can affirm that the introduction of Catalan as a subject was consummated, if nowhere else, it was seen in Catalonia, the Valencian region and the Balearic Islands, during the democratic transition. In fact, all of the statutes of autonomy and the first linguistic laws put special emphasis on the learning and educational use of Catalan, because the principle was set that all of the people had to be competent in the two official languages in order to avoid inequalities or social fractures for linguistic reasons. However, the school linguistic models developed in each region greatly differ. In Catalonia a unitary linguistic model, that has Catalan as its principal vehicular language, and is known as the ‘model de conjunció’ [conjunction model], has been constituted. It parts from the base that ‘everybody has the right to receive schooling in Catalan’, and that this language ‘has to be used normally as a vehicular and learning language in university and non-university teaching’ (art. 35, Statute of Catalonia 2006). The conjunction model aims to prevent school segregation for linguistic reasons, although it recognises the right to receive initial schooling in Catalan and Spanish and the right of the student that joins the schooling system late, to receive linguistic support if Catalan is not the language in which they express themselves. Logically, this model demands that the teachers and professors can express themselves in either of the two official languages in Catalonia. In order to guarantee this, in 1991 the law which regulated the access to the educational sector was approved, which demanded the professionals of teaching have a level of Catalan and Spanish that allowed them to develop their professional task in accordance with the current legislation. The school linguistic model which is current in the Balearic Islands closely follows the model of Catalonia, although the presence of Spanish is a little more important as a vehicular language. In contrast, in the Valen- cian region, a radically different model has been followed, which is based upon linguistic lines. In accordance with this model, parents can choose, at least in theory, that which has to be the language in which their chil- dren are schooled, that is to say, Catalan or Spanish. However, this theory is quite removed from reality, since administration often does not guarantee the existence of ‘lines in Valencian’, not even in places where there is a strong demand. The position of the Catalan language in the rest of the domain is equally complex. In Andorra, which is a sta- te marked by the presence of high immigration and visitors, various educational systems coexist: the Escola Andorrana pública [Public Andorran School], which sports Catalan as its main language and has a strong presence of French as a second language; the congregational schools, which support Catalan as their vehicular language; and the French system, with schools that work in this language. In the Franja [Aragon Strait], in contrast, Catalan is little more than an optional subject in the context of a completely ‘Castilianised’ schooling system. In Alguer and Northern Catalonia, there co-exists teaching in Catalan as an optional subject and some initiatives of education in Catalan as total or partial immersion. The school linguistic models of the Catalanophile regions have been shaken-up by the migratory waves of the 1990’s and 2000’s. These waves have modified the demographical composition of the students, to the point that, in a decade, we have passed from less than 1% of foreign students to more than 12%. The specific needs of Culturcat. Generalitat de Catalunya. seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter FURTHER READING
  4. 4. these new students have motivated a great number of initiatives, like the ‘aules d’acollida’ [welcoming classes] which are destined to ease the learning of Catalan and a rapid and personalised incorporation of the newly arrived student into the centre. In 2007, in Catalonia, there were a total of 1.081 of this type of classes (636 in primary education, 347 in secondary education and 91 in appointed centres). The universities follow ‘grosso modo’ the same linguistic model of the region where they are located. Thus, in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, there is little tendency to establish linguistic lines and the students as- sist classes in Catalan or Spanish in accordance with the language chosen by the teaching staff. However, in agreement with article 35 of the Statute of Catalonia, ‘the teachers and students of the university centres have the right to express themselves, orally or in writing, in the official language of their choice’. The last official data published by the Department of Universities of Catalonia explained that the percentage of groups of class given in Catalan was distributed in an unequal way: University of Barcelona, 66,4%; Autonomous University of Barcelona, 61,8%; Polytechnic University of Catalonia, 59,4%; Pompeu Fabra University, 66,3%; Gerona University, 80%; Lleida University, 53,05%; Rovira i Virgili University, 64,9%; Open University of Catalonia, 71,4%; Ramon Llull University, 75,8%; Vic University, 84%; International University of Catalonia, 44%; and Abbot Oliba-CEU University, 32%. These percentages are for guidance and the presence of Catalan often changes depending on the type of teaching. Therefore, in grade courses, the presence of Catalan is higher than in the post-grades and masters, where the greater presence of foreign students has motivated the offer of more courses given in Spanish and an incipient offer of teaching given in English. In order to foment the use of Catalan in the university world, in 1994, thirteen universities of Catalan-speaking regions signed the act of constitution of the ‘Xarxa Vives’ [Vives Network] in the city of Morella in the Va- lencian region. At present it comprises twenty universities. In total, this represents a collective of more than 440.000 people, amongst students, teachers and non-teaching staff. The aim of this network is to potentiate the relationships between the various Catalan speaking regions at a cultural and linguistic level. Amongst the various services which the network offers to the public, there are bursaries for inter-university mobility, a vir- tual library and a portal of linguistic resources. First published in Culturcat, Generalitat de Catalunya. Photo: Culturcat
  5. 5. Catalan, the language of instruction in Catalonia’s public schools Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 In Catalonia’s public schools, Catalan is the language of instruction in order to guarantee that all pupils end their studies knowing both official languages: Catalan and Spanish. Spanish is taught as a subject. The model works, and Catalan pupils not only know Catalan but they also get the same results in Spanish language exams, if not better, than in the rest of Spain. In addition, the model has been praised as a good practice by the European Commission and UNESCO. However, the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that Spanish should be language of instruction in Catalan schools based on an appeal by 3 parents, who took the Catalan Government to court for denying to school their children in Spanish within the public education system of Catalonia. Many legal experts think that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to change the entire school model, already defined by several laws. Furthermore, the Spanish Constitutional Court has validated twice the Catalan school model, in 1994 and in 2010. In addition, teacher unions and parents associations back the current model. This controversy has been used by some Spanish politicians throughout Spain, most of them from the People’s Party (PP). According to most of the Catalan political parties, it is a false controversy only created for electoral reasons to feed Spanish nationalism. First published in Catalan News Agency. Photo: by Catalan News Agency CNA - Catalan News Agency seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter FURTHER READING
  6. 6. Catalan Education Minister believes the Spanish Government’s school reform can still be stopped Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 Barcelona (ACN).- On Thursday, Irene Rigau, the Catalan Minister for Education, announced that Catalonia will participate in the working group created to analyse how to better implement the Spanish Government’s Education Reform. However, she also stated that the results of such a working group will have to be assessed before implementing the Education Reform. On Wednesday, after a meeting that Rigau refused to attend, the Spanish Government said that the Reform will be implemented “one way or the other” in September 2014 throughout Spain, including Catalonia. Rigau refused to attend because the meeting discussed how Spanish will be made an instruction language in Catalan schools, an idea which is unacceptable for the wide majority of Catalans. In addition, Rigau insisted on the need to analyse the results of the working group, which might highlight difficulties to implement the Reform from the next school year, particularly regarding the imposition of the Spanish language on the Catalan school system. Such a working group was announced earlier this week by the Spanish Education Minister, José Ignacio Wert, aiming to make “Catalonia feel comfortable” with the Reform, despite all the Catalan education stakeholders totally opposing it. In fact, the new legislation obliges the Catalan Government to offer Spanish as an instruction language or to pay for privately-owned schools. Wert’s Reform entirely changes Catalonia’s current school model, which has been in place for the last three decades and fosters bilingualism. Simultaneously, a tedious judicial process is currently in place, trying to make Spanish an instruction language in Catalonia. Regarding this process, on Thursday, it has been confirmed that after weeks of uncertainty, finally the five schools that were forced to teach “at least” 25% of the compulsory subjects in Spanish have been allowed to join the appeal against such a decision. Furthermore, also on Thursday, the Catalan Ombudsmann, Rafel Ribó, urged the Catalan Government to keep the current school model, since “Catalonia has an excellent situation of linguistic equilibrium”. “It is a treasure that has to be preserved and fostered”, since, besides the cultural advantages, it guarantees social cohesion and equal opportunities. The current Catalan school system is based on the linguistic immersion principle and it guarantees that pupils entirely master both Catalan and Spanish at the end of the schooling period. However, Spanish nationalists have put the model under the spotlight, stating that they have “the right” to school their children in Spanish in Catalonia, even though such measure would not guarantee a sufficient knowledge of Catalan, according to experts. Such a right does not exist in the Constitution, which only recognises the “right and duty to know Spanish”. As the Constitutional Court already acknowledged it, the Catalan school system respects such a right, as Catalan students get similar or even better results (depending on the years) in their Spanish assessments than the average of their peers in the rest of Spain. However, for the Spanish Government, which is run by the People’s Party (PP), this is not enough and they would like to change the entire model, making Spanish an instruction language. In practical terms, this would mean that children from Spanish-speaking environments schooled in Spanish would not be sufficiently exposed to Catalan and they might have problems mastering this language. Consequently, bilingualism would not be fostered and it would be quite the contrary, since the knowledge of Spanish would be guaranteed but not that of Catalan. In the long-term, this would affect equal opportunities and would create two separate language communities. In fact, the Autonomous Communities governed by the PP for many years have managed to change the school system and to marginalise the languages that are not Spanish, schooling thousands of kids who are monolingual. Therefore, in the long term, this is a strategy to homogenise Spain and to marginalise the Catalan language as it was summed up by Wert in October 2012. Back then he said in front of the Spanish Parliament: “our objective is to Hispanicise Catalan pupils”. In parallel with the political Education Reform, a judicial battle is going on, since a small group of families is trying to grant their children the right to be schooled in Spanish in Catalonia’s public school system. The Spanish Supreme Court, which neither has the power to change laws nor to act as a legislative or an executive power, is trying to impose Spanish in the classrooms attended by the children of these families. This represents changing the current Education Law of Catalonia, approved in 2006, and going against the text of the Statute of Autonomy voted by the Catalan people through a binding referendum. However, in January, the court forced five schools to teach “at least” 25% of the mandatory subjects in Spanish from the month of March. Now, the five schools will be allowed to participate in an appeal prepared by the Catalan Education Ministry. First published in: Catalan News Agency Photo: The Catalan Education Minister, Irene Rigau (by P. Mateos) Catalan News Agency. seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter FURTHER READING
  7. 7. Judiciary insists on modifying Catalan school model to in- crease presence of Spanish Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 Barcelona (ACN).- On Wednesday the Catalan High Court confirmed its previous decision to oblige 5 schools to teach “at least 25%” of their mandatory subjects in Spanish if the family of a single pupil asks for it, regardless of the opinion of the other children’s families. The measure should be adopted “immediately”, but the Catalan Government announced that it will lodge another appeal. Two months ago, the affected schools and the Catalan Government had already appealed the decision, which interpreted a previous judgement from the Spanish Supreme Court on the complaint presented byadozenfamiliesfromCatalonia.Thesedozenfamilies, which represent a tiny minority within a system schooling 1.2 million pupils, insisted they had “the right” to have their kids schooled in Spanish in Catalonia. However, such a right does not exist, as the Constitutional Court stated in a previous ruling. The Spanish Constitution only recognises “the right and duty to know Spanish”, which is totally guaranteed by the Catalan system. The mess started when a politicised Constitutional Court issued a judgement in 2010 on the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, which was approved by the Spanish Parliament and by the Catalan people through a binding referendum in 2006. In 2010, the Constitutional Court recognised the current model based on the linguistic immersion principle, saying that Catalan should be “the centre of gravity” of it, but that Spanish could not be put aside. Spanish nationalist judges are now using this last part of the Constitutional Court’s sentence to act as a legislative power and change the current law and system. The current model teaches almost all subjects in Catalan, except Spanish language and literature, which are obviously taught in Spanish. However, the system is very flexible and some schools teach further subjects in Spanish, using their curricular autonomy and depending on their socio-linguistic environment. In addition, there are many flexibility measures, such as individualised attention for newcomers. However the families appealing and the judicial authority consider this not to be enough and are now demanding to have the entire class being schooled in Spanish if just a single kid asks for it, even if the rest of kids in the class want to be schooled in Catalan. Judiciary is acting as a legislative and executive power If the Court decision is finally approved, the measure represents a threat to the knowledge of Catalan language by all Catalan children, as well as a threat to true bilingualism, equal opportunities and social cohesion. The current model follows these principles, since children totally master both languages, Spanish and Catalan, by the end of their studies. In addition, the court decision is a threat against separation of powers and Catalonia’s self-government, since it completely changes a law in force and approved by the Catalan Parliament, based on the Statute of autonomy, which was approved by the Catalan citizens in a binding referendum. This means that in a system where laws are only approved by the citizen representatives sitting in a parliament, the Spanish judicial authority – which is significantly politicised and is totally centralised – is using its hierarchic structure to make the Catalan High Court modify an existing law. The Catalan High Court replies that if executive and legislative powers refuse to act and change the system, then the judicial authority is entitled to set new rules, such as the exact share of Spanish language in the school curricula. If the presence of Catalan is reduced, some children will not master the language Spain’s centralised judicial power has decided to increase the presence of Spanish in school, thereby reducing that of Catalan. The current model is based on the language immersion principle in order to ensure that all pupils can master both Catalan and Spanish by the end of their studies. Experts state that if the number of hours that students are exposed to Catalan language is reduced, some children from exclusively Spanish-speaking environments will not be able to master it since they will not be sufficiently in contact with Catalan. However, since Spanish has a preeminent role in communication media and is very present at street level or in the school yard, the current model guarantees that children from Catalan speaking environments master Spanish, as results show. Students from Catalonia get similar results or even better – depending on the year – in Spanish language compared to their peers throughout Spain. Furthermore, by fostering a true bilingualism, the Catalan school model – in place for more than 30 years – ensures equal opportunities when children reach the job market and master both official languages. On top of this, it fosters social cohesion, since there are not two separate language communities, such as in other territories with two official languages. For these reasons, Catalonia’s education model has been praised by UNESCO and by the European Commission. The model is also backed by an extremlly wide consensus in Catalonia. But Spanish nationalists want their kids to be schooled in Spanish in Catalonia and they do not seem to care if their knowledge of Catalan is not enough. Spanish nationalists aim to break the Catalan society In the current political climate, such a decision from the judicial authority fuels Catalan independence demands, since many citizens feel self-government and Catalan language are threatened by Madrid’s centralist and homogenising power. In fact, in October 2012, the Spanish Education Minister, José Ignacio Wert, who is Catalan News Agency seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter FURTHER READING
  8. 8. pushing for a reform aiming to make Spanish a language of instruction in Catalonia, stated before Parliament that the aim of Spain’s Government is “to Hispanicise Catalan pupils”. Wert also linked the support for independence to the Catalan education model, although opinion polls show that independence support has grown in a similar way within all age groups, including people who were educated exclussively in Spanish during Franco’s dictatorship times, when Catalan language was banned. Howevr, as former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar said a few months ago, “before Spain is broken, Catalan society will break”, and this seems to be the long-term strategy of Spanish nationalists to stop Catalan self-determination process: splitting the Catalan society into two language communities. First published in: Catalan News Agency Photo: A high-school class in Catalonia (by M. Belmez)
  9. 9. The Catalan language at the university Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 In the main part of this article we will review the official data on the use of the Catalan language in Catalan universities. However, the existence of posters like the one that illustrates this article, made by the Language Services of the University of Barcelona, makes one think that one thing is theory and the other is what happens in practice in the classroom (which, in fact, is also the case in many schools, especially in secondary education and areas where the Castilian-speaking population is the majority)… The poster here is asking people to respect the language of the classes… Is it a poster for the students or is it for the teachers? It’s hard to tell… The 2012 Language Policy Report offers us data on the use of Catalan as a language of instruction in undergraduate classes of the seven public universities of Catalonia during the 2011-2012 school year. The average is 77.2% and oscillates between 54,9% at the Pompeu Fabra University and 92.2% at the Rovira i Virgili University. Nonetheless, if we compare these data with those of the Secretary for Universities and Research corresponding to the academic year 2012-2013, we’ll see that the use of Catalan has decreased in the last year (with 75.4% as the average), also oscillating between 55.8% at the Pompeu Fabra University (which, despite everything, has increased slightly) and 92.1% at the Rovira i Virgili University, which has been accompanied by increasing education in third languages. Only at the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and the University of Lleida (UdL) is the use of Catalan in education increasing, if only slightly. The average of instruction in Castilian is 16.00% and in third languages, 8.6% (1.3% more than the previous academic year). We can see this in detail in this graph: In general, the use of Catalan decreases gradually in the masters and doctorate courses, and above all for doctoral theses and research, where the use of Castilian and third languages, especially English, increases significantly. According to the 2012 Language Policy Report, the average of classes in Catalan in public universities for Masters programs was 61.3% in the 2011-2012 academic year, lower than the previous year and, according to the Secretary for Universities and Research, in the following academic year 2012-2013 it was at 56.9%, which maintains the downward trend and illustrates how third languages have benefitted, mainly English (20.8% of the classes were in Castilian, 22.2% in English and 0.1% in other languages). Teaching in Catalan lies between 34.8% at the Pompeu Fabra University (where the use of third languages makes up 39.3%) and 73.1% at the University of Girona. We can see the breakdown of this language use in the following graph: Regarding doctoral theses, we don’t have global data on the 2012-2013 academic year, but according to the Secretary for Universities and Research during the 2011-12 academic year, the proportion of doctoral theses on the basis of language was, out of a total of 2,062 theses, the following: 17.5% in Catalan; 40.0% in Castilian; 38.7% in English; 1.5% in other third languages, and 2.3% that were bilingual. Pere Mayans. The language pulse in the Catalan Countries. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb) seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter FURTHER READING
  10. 10. In the 2012-2013 academic year, Catalan was the language of 17% of the theses presented at the Rovira i Virgili University (3% more than the previous year), while 35.1% were in Castilian and 46.7% in English. 1.2% were presented in other languages. 16.7% of the theses presented at the University of Lleida that same year were in Catalan (almost 4% fewer than the previous year), 42.8% in Castilian and 39.3% in English (a significant increase). 1.2% were in Portuguese. At the UPC (Polytechnic University of Catalonia), 8.2% were presented in Catalan, 32.7% in Castilian, and 58.5% in English. First published in: The language pulse in the Catalan Countries. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb) Photo: By the language pulse in the Catalan Countries. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb)
  11. 11. Catalan in the education system: ambiguity, rulings, realities…. Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 Yesterday it was announced that the Court of Justice of Catalonia had dismissed all appeals for reconsideration (including in equal measure those presented by the Catalan Government, the heads and the PTAs of the schools in question) against the interlocutory that stated that 25% of classes would have to be taught in Castilian if the family of one student requested it… This is yet another step in this sort of legal “Dragon Khan” that the languages in the Catalan education system are subject to (in Catalonia as well as other Catalan-speaking territories within the Spanish state). Now, clearly, it is time to file an appeal in cassation before the Supre- me Court (the Spanish one, of course). Yet it is also clear that, in the completely opposite direction, the entity Convivencia Cívica Catalana (Catalan Civic Coexistence), which represents the families who asked for schooling in Castilian, will do the same thing, because they believe that this 25% is insufficient and that it should go up to 50%. It is clear that the goal is to bring an end to the only area of socie- ty in which Catalan is the primary language, because, in addition, we should also keep in mind the recent push to include English in the curriculum (and in some places, although only a few, French). And the pressure here is from society and from the media… In addition, we should keep in mind all those teachers (especially in secondary school and certain areas) who, although they say they teach their classes in Catalan, they go ahead and teach directly in Castilian, or simply change languages when there is a foreign student in the class or when a student speaks in Castilian…. And then there are those schools that had already decided (or their teachers had already decided) to incorporate classes in Castilian (459 schools according to the Minister of Education, using data from inspections). But what exactly do the judges say? Literally, they tell us: “Based on the consideration of Catalan as the center of gravity of the education system, with the corresponding repercussion on the school hours derived from this principle, one determines the mini- mum presence of Castilian as a vehicular language in the course and in the class where the son or daughter of the appellant is carrying out their studies, in 25% of class time, which involves teaching in this official language the subject area or the class for the learning of this language and at the same time, as a minimum, another subject area or class in the core curriculum or similar that is not a language class.” If we read it, dispassionately, we can observe that, in essence, they are saying the same thing they said in 1983, when, following a request of the State government, a modification was made to the wording of Article 9 of the Decree 362/1983, on the implementation of Law 7/1983, of 18 of April, of Linguistic Normalization in Catalo- nia, in the area of non-university education. From that point on it was necessary to guarantee that, “in addition to the Castilian language [class], at least one other class or subject area would have to be taught in this langua- ge.” It is about limiting Catalan, as Catalonia’s own language, to be the language of education as well. And this can be seen more or less in what they say today. The difference: at that time the tide was in favor of the Catalanization of the education system (associated with concepts such as democratization, education reform, values of public service, co-education, etc.). That was what made it possible for that ruling to almost go unnoti- ced and that during the 1990s the proposals of school linguistic projects that were made by the Department of Education were ignored. These were the years of political pacts, of the interpretation of “normality” in Catalan, as a synonym of “always,” when in essence it meant “usually” but not “exclusively.” In fact, this ruling of 1983 was not repealed until 2011, although the majority didn’t even know of its existence. In conclusion, we can say that, legally speaking, it has never been clear that Catalan could be the (exclusive) vehicular language of the education system. The reality, especially in secondary education and certain parts of Catalonia, also denies this fact. This is going to be a problem. First published in: “The language pulse in Catalan Countries”. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb) Photo: By “The language pulse in Catalan Countries”. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb) Pere Mayans. The language pulse in the Catalan Countries. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb) seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter FURTHER READING
  12. 12. Castilian, a language that is also vehicular in non-university formal education Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 In the middle of the legal and media debate about the presence of Castilian as a vehicular language (as well) in our education system (let’s remember that vehicular means that classes are taught in the language in addition to the Castilian language course), a lot of people have been surprised to hear that this language is already the vehicular one in some schools in Catalonia, as has been heard in recent statements. These claims, the product, we think, of an attempt to salvage-preserve it as much as possible from our language planning in education, has surprised professors at universities that train future generations of teachers in our country, and many teachers and professors who have staunchly defended language projects in which Catalan was the vehicular language and, of course, all those who have given support to, the organization that has supported Catalan in the education system… Nonetheless, we have long warned that Catalan is not quite the vehicular language of the education system and that not always, when classes are taught in Castilian, it is to ensure that, upon completion of compulsory education, students have the same level of Catalan and Castilian (if it were, no problem!) as we have seen in some truly outrageous cases. Along these lines, about eight years ago, I asked Professor Pere Ribera i Pinós to write an article for the magazine l’Escletxa, for the CAL, about the situation of education. I will reproduce it once again because I think that it can give us some idea about what has been the true presence of our language in many of the education centers of Catalonia, and especially for secondary education, and that everything he mentions is still the case today. WHAT IS THE LANGUAGE OF SECONDARY EDUCATION IN CATALONIA? This question is not easily answered. If we heed current regulations, whether it be the Language Policy Law or the Instruccions de curs (published annually by the Department of Education) in recent years, the language of instructioninalllevels andareasofthe schools hastobeCatalan.Thestatement isveryclearandunderstandable for those who need to understand and apply it. It even comes with certain tools to monitor it in detail: the timetable statements that all teachers in schools must complete, where teachers are asked each school year in what language they will teach their classes. The reality in the classrooms, hallways and offices of schools is extraordinarily complex and contradictory. Since April 29th, 2005, the Department of Education admitted to the newspaper AVUI that 20% of primary school classes and 40% of secondary school classes are taught in Castilian (probably to varying degrees). In fact, in January 1997, the union USTEC published the results of a survey entitled “Catalan in secondary education, still a lot of work to do…,” which stated that in secondary schools Catalan was the working language of 69.3% of the classes. Looking at the results of the surveys given to students from different schools during the 2004-2005 school year, we will see that in a school in the city of Barcelona, 20% of the batxillerat high school subjects were taught in Catalan, and in the same school, only a total of 57.04% of the subjects were taught in Catalan. In this same school, 56.2% of students said they used the language the teacher used in class. Obviously this is an extreme case of “de-Catalanization” in the classroom, but it’s a reality that can be found in a number of other schools. If we only looked at the data reported by the teachers on their timetable, we would not get this data in any school in Catalonia, but if we ask the students, then some truly worrisome data appear, such as those we have mentioned already. Even within academia, there have been some paradoxical cases such as some newcomers, children of the most recent waves of immigration, who went through a process of adaptation in the “School adaptation workshops”(APR), or welcome classrooms, find that when they reach the “regular” classroom, the teachers of core subjects such as math or social sciences explain things to them in Castilian, and not only that, but it is often the case that these teachers refuse to switch languages when the students explain their situation. In terms of organizing the schools in Catalonia, it also seems that there is a lack of any linguistic criterion beyond declarations of good intentions. In some schools teachers are appointed to leadership roles who never use the Catalan language, whether it be to address the students or to address the teaching staff. In the cases described so far, in all except a few schools with which I have had a professional relationship of some kind, the deficiencies in the process of language normalization can be attributed to two professional groups: teachers and education inspectors. Teachers as a group have not embraced the need to carry out positive actions for the full normalization of Catalan in schools, and there are even sectors that have strong reservations and have offered resistance, using constitutional law as an argument for using an official language in their professional activity. But at the same time, education inspectors have not acted, except for a few exceptional cases, and have not considered that issues related to language use were an important aspect of their work, otherwise how can we comprehend certain job appointments or statements of teaching timetables with the language section left blank. Pere Mayans. The language pulse in the Catalan Countries. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb) seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter FURTHER READING
  13. 13. Beyond the passivity, neglect or resistance of these two groups, we should also note the remarkable passivity of the educational administration that results in two equally suicidal attitudes: the affirmation of linguistic normalcy that came from the administration of [the political party] CiU, or the passivity of the previous administration. An example of this passivity is quite clear in two events that erupted in the Department of Education during the month of January 2006. Coinciding with the publication in El Mundo of an article by a well-known member of the Asociación por la tolerancia (Association for tolerance) and current leader of the Ciutadans political party, in which he denounced (as they usually do from these platforms) the language policy of the Department of Education and the language surveys addressed to the students, the Department of Education itself called for an end to these surveys and a freeze on the language projects in the schools, which is a tool that regulates how languages are treated at each school. Also at this time, within the framework documents “Plan for the language and for social cohesion, ” the document “The situation of the Catalan language in schools: measures to strengthen and promote it,” contained in Appendix 4 of this plan and aimed at managing the areas of language and social cohesion of the Department of Education, was mysteriously removed. One should also wonder what happened to the decree implementing the law on language policy in the field of non-university education that was announced in 2005. Viewed in this way, we can say that the statements that are made about the Catalan language being the language of education, especially in secondary schools, are mere rhetoric in a number of schools, but it seems that none of the education administrations that we have had up until now have considered an appropriate framework for action. It seems as if it were about pretending things were going just fine, even though we don’t really know how things are going, but by repeating over and over that everything is fine, there are a lot of people who have ended up believing it. Meanwhile, as in the other areas of society, language belongs to everybody, and much less to the administration and the entities responsible for managing language policy in this country. At the same time, the reports of the IEC (Institute of Catalan Studies), the Language Observatory and all the other authorities that carry out studies on the use of the language, continue to see an increasing decline in the use of Catalan in society, especially among young people. In education, when we compare the rhetoric to the perception of users [(students)] and professionals, there are no exceptions, but the same general rule, or not, because we cannot confirm it. Thus, there is no single answer to the initial question, we can only confirm that what the laws and the instruccions de curs say is not true. First published in: “The language pulse in Catalan Countries”. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb) Photo: By “The language pulse in Catalan Countries”. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb)
  14. 14. Some reflections on what it means to teach second languages: sociolinguistic implications Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 In this article you will find a reflection on some sociolinguistic aspects (and general social and emotional ones) that should be taken into account when teaching second languages; In parti- cular, we will focus on the teaching and learning of reading. It should be pointed out, however, that we will not provide ideas on how to work on the reading process in the case of students who don’t have Catalan as their language in the home and who have been in our education system from the early stages, either starting in nursery school or at the beginning of their primary education, since it is understood that they are taught and learn the first language in the school (second, third or fourth language for many students), in the case of students who don’t have it as their first lan- guage, applying the strategies of linguistic immersion. Instead, we will be speaking about the learning process for readers in Catalan for students who incorporated themselves much later into the education system, and what can be learned from this same process in the case of languages that are considered “foreign.” In the picture: the importance of reading for learning second languages, in this case in higher education. In this text you will find reflections to keep in mind when working with reading both in a foreign language (or languages), as well as the Catalan language in the case of students who incorporate themselves late into our education system (beginning in the second cycle of primary school up to the 4th year of ESO). In the same way, these guidelines are also useful for reading in Castilian for those students who have arrived late to the educa- tion system and don’t use Castilian, or some of the other variants of Castilian, as their language in the home. In all these cases, we must first consider the language students were taught to read and write in. Students who have started school in Catalonia (or in any of the other territories where Catalan is a vehicular language) this process has normally been in Catalan. In the case of students who arrive late to our education system, the casuistry can be extremely varied and, on many occasions, the language they were schooled in is not the lan- guage they speak at home, nor even the language of the territory where the family lived: Morocco’s Amazigh were taught in standard Arabic; the Wu Chinese or Cantonese in Mandarin Chinese; the Punjabis in Urdu; the people of the Amerindian language in Spanish… It’s also important to take into account that, at times, the home language and the schooling language (which, as we have seen, don’t always coincide), can be the same, or a variant, of the foreign language that is taught at school (English or French). For students who are late arrivals to the education system, there are, in addition, other elements to take into account: • The knowledge of the languages of origin (family or schooling) that the students bring with them, to which must be added the languages of our school environment, when means that they will be students with an extensive linguistic repertoire. • Whether they have learned a language in a school context (level of prior education). • The level of awareness of the Latin alphabet. • The sociolinguistic context of the school and the school environment. • Proximity or not to the cultural and social reference points of the school and the host society. • Experience of the immigration process and the emotional aspects and those related to building an identity that are connected to this. • Academic expectations of the families, of the student, of the school… • Their level of motivation to learn a new language (Catalan, but also Castilian) will depend a great degree on the sociolinguistic context of their surroundings, the management of languages in the school, of a peer language, of the strategies for teaching and learning at the school… • In the case of students who do not speak the Castilian at home that is heard in the news in Spain, it is impor- tant to take into account the internal diversity of this language and not stigmatize the speakers of variants that are very different from the Spanish standard. As for learning to read in a second language, it is important to consider: • The fact that there are students who have followed a formal learning of a foreign language (or, even, a se- cond foreign language) since they were little. • Outside the school environment, many students have entered in contact with English through extracurri- cular activities, play activities or simply through contact with people who speak the foreign language in question. • In the previous cases, normally, students have an easier time with language comprehension than with spea- king or writing. • For many students who arrive late to the education system, learning a foreign language is an additional challenge to learning Catalan and Castilian. • For other students, however, the foreign language they learn at school might be their own (or one of their own) languages they speak at home, or one they may have started to learn in their country of origin (due to it being official there or because it is also taught as a foreign language in the education system there). • The motivation and the attitudes towards the foreign language will vary with each student. Pere Mayans. The language pulse in the Catalan Countries. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb) seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter FURTHER READING
  15. 15. • All of the above reasons can cause the levels in a foreign language class to vary immensely. First published in: “The language pulse in Catalan Countries”. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb) Photo: By “The language pulse in Catalan Countries”. Blog on language and society. (Vilaweb)
  16. 16. Minister Margallo, Ukraine is not Catalonia Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 15/05/2014 The political and social crisis in the Ukraine continues. For months now the tensions between the citizens that feel Ukrainian and the Russian-speaking minorities in their territories have been rising to a crescendo. The referendums that have been held have not helped lower these tensions. Quite the contrary! This is because none of the referendums held in Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk (to decide whether they would be annexed to the Russian Federation) have had any of the desirable characteristics that would show that they had been carried out as required by a democracy of the 21st century. They were improvised enough to lead us to think that they didn’t have the necessary guaranteed transparency or the assurance that no irregularities occurred. In addition, amidst the alleged electoral processes there have been numerous incidents of violence —including military pressure, civilian clashes, the creation of militia and the kidnapping of some observers of the OSCE—, the occupying of government buildings and the violation of rights of all sorts. In conclusion, the processes carried out in the territories of eastern Ukraine have not guaranteed either freedom or democracy. Because of this, it is clear that these processes have nothing to do with —alas, yes, nothing to do with— the democratic, peaceful, transparent and dialogue-based process that the Catalan people and government are promoting. Rather, they are at two very opposite poles. And it is because it is fairly obvious that the process led by President Artur Mas is based on respect for legal frameworks and the request for dialogue with the Spanish government and European institutions, and that the processes that are taking place in the eastern Ukraine are unworthy of a modern and democratic Europe. Nonetheless, while this difference is obvious to many of the states of the EU and to many media, in Spain there are Ministers that are sufficiently blind (and blinded) to continue to deny it. This is why the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo, continues to insist that Catalonia, Donetsk and Lugansk are the same thing. That is, according to the same Spanish head of international relations, although some are in the east and others are in the south of Europe, they are the same thing because both go against the internal Constitutions of their own states. Consequently, and according to Margallo, they cannot be recognized by international law. Doesn’t the Minister see that he is setting himself up for ridicule with these statements? Does he not understand that the world has understood that the Catalans base their claims only on radical democracy? Can’t he acknowledge that the Spanish state is wrong when it tries to compare two situations that are poles apart? And, what’s more: will Spain someday be able to have a similar attitude to that of the British government, which would mean scrupulously respecting democracy and the right of its citizens to decide? In conclusion, comparing the Ukraine and Catalonia is wrong and, at the same time, it is a significant and ridiculous manipulation of reality. Margallo – and Spain’s diplomatic machinery – must think that the world is not able to differentiate between the territories that favor democracy, peace and dialogue, and those territories that are violent and that have significant deficits of individual and collective freedom. This is not the case, Minister Margallo, not at all! Catalonia is calling for its right to vote democratically and it wants to do so with the guarantee of freedom for all opinions! First published in CatDem Foundation. CatDem Foundation seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter OPINION
  17. 17. Penalties for Mr. Putin Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 It is important at this stage of the confrontation in Ukraine to clarify that the issue is not simply “who owns Crimea.” There is a difficult question there, and as secession-minded people in Quebec, Scotland or Catalonia have shown, there are legitimate ways to raise it. The real issue is the way President Vladimir Putin of Russia has thrown down the gauntlet: sending Russian forces to seize control of Crimea; concocting nonexistent “fascist” threats to the Russian population; refusing to recognize the interim government in Kiev; calling for a phony referendum in Crimea on Sunday and a vote in Russia on March 21 whose outcomes are foreordained. Whether Mr. Putin ends up actually annexing Crimea to Russia or creating some other form of dependency is moot; his transparently phony preparations are based on presumptions of special Russian privileges in its former empire. The occupation of Crimea is illegal under international law, and it is time for Europe to join the United States in threatening the sort of costly sanctions that will leave Mr. Putin no doubt that they will not tolerate violations of Ukrainian territorial integrity. Like many Russians, Mr. Putin earnestly believes that Russia has a special bond with Ukraine. What he and those in his administration cannot fathom is that Ukraine can forge economic and social ties with the West and still retain the indisputable historic and cultural kinship to Russia; to them, it is a zero-sum game, and Mr. Putin is prepared to be tough. [...] You can read the full article, here: First published in The New York Times. Photo: Vladimir Putin The New York Times. By the Editorial Board seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter OPINION
  18. 18. Samuel Charap: The Ukraine crisis and the search for a new normal Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 As Ukraine’s winter of domestic political discord transformed into a spring of territorial partition and instability, European and American officials seemed to be speaking from an agreed set of talking points in their public remarks on the crisis. While hopeful transatlanticists sought to construe this remarkable consistency as a demonstration of a new seriousness of purpose intheWest,thelitanyofwarnings,threatsandprescriptionsfor resolution (inevitably characterised as either an ‘off-ramp’ or ‘de-escalation’) spoke more to the desperation of those uttering them to quickly find a new, stable equilibrium for Ukraine, Russia and the international system. Yet the talking points and buzzwords, no matter how many times they are repeated, do not in fact describe either a sustainable equilibrium or an end point to the crisis. Instead, the disequilibrium and instability triggered by the Ukraine crisis seems likely to endure for some time: the search for a ‘new normal’ promises to be long, costly and highly disruptive of both individuals’ lives and the international order. Not just Crimea, then Until mid-April, when pro-Russia groups in Ukraine’s south and east seized several administrative buildings, the search for a new equilibrium had been focused on drawing a line at Russia’s annexation of Crimea. As British Prime Minister David Cameron said on 25 March, ‘there’s a view that the status quo [Russian occupation of Crimea] is unacceptable, but there’s then another very, very strong view that any further steps into Eastern Ukraine would be even more serious and would result in much greater sanctions.’ Russia would keep Crimea, even if most of the world found Russia’s actions objectionable, and the West would support the new Ukrainian government to become prosperous and democratic. Eventually, Russia would recognise the new Ukrainian government, and ratchet down the economic and military pressure. As a White House statement issued on 6 March put it, ‘de-escalation’ would take the following form: The governments of Ukraine and Russia would hold direct talks, facilitated by the international community; international monitors could ensure that the rights of all Ukrainians are protected, including ethnic Russians; Russian forces would return to their bases; and the international community would work together to support the Ukrainian people as they prepare for elections in May. In theory, this proposed outcome to the crisis – let’s call it ‘just Crimea’ – seemed quite reasonable. However, ‘just Crimea’ proved more wishful thinking than sustainable end point. Above all, it could not be maintained because winning Crimea and losing the rest of Ukraine was not an acceptable outcome for Russia. Put differently, Russia did not invade Crimea in order to annex Crimea; it did so in a desperate attempt to secure Russian interests in Ukraine, which extend far beyond the Crimean peninsula. Indeed, the timeline of Moscow’s statements and decisions suggests that the annexation (or what is called ‘the reunification’ in Russia) of Crimea did not necessarily reflect a coherent strategy. In the final days of February, when Russian President Vladimir Putin took the decision to insert special forces, paratroopers and other servicemen into Crimea, he was seeking to prevent a strategic setback in Kiev from becoming a strategic catastrophe: Russia’s nightmare scenario of being completely pushed out of Ukraine by the West. That decision – meant to secure the most important Russian physical assets on the peninsula, and to coerce the new Ukrainian authorities into accommodating Moscow’s broader interests in Ukraine – had almost immediate knock-on effects on the ground. It released latent separatist sentiment among the majority of the Crimean population, and hardened the position of the new government in Kiev. In other words, despite Putin’s statements reaffirming Ukraine’s territorial integrity as late as 4 March, the invasion foreclosed options other than annexation. The swiftness of the annexation seemed to contribute to the false impression that Russia had achieved its objectives. Many in the West apparently wanted to believe that the story would end there, since this belief has persisted despite a complete lack of evidence to support such a conclusion. On 15 March, the day before a so-called ‘referendum’ on the status of Crimea was held in that territory, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov handed US Secretary of State John Kerry a draft text of a ‘Friends of Ukraine’ international action plan. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published the proposal online two days later. The document contains five actionable points. Firstly, it calls for the fulfillment of the pledges contained in the agreement reached by the Ukrainian opposition and then-President Victor Yanukovich on 21 February to disband armed groups and de-occupy buildings in Ukraine. (That settlement, which had been brokered by Russia and the European Union, lasted mere hours before falling apart.) Secondly, it outlines a new federal constitutional order for Ukraine, providing for, inter alia, neutrality; the direct election of regional governments, which would be granted a wide range of powers currently held by Kiev; and the elevation of Russian as an official state language along with Ukrainian. Thirdly, after this constitution is approved by popular referendum, the Russian plan proposes that new elections, at both the regional and national levels, take place. Fourthly, the document stipulates that the right to self-determination of the people of Crimea, as expressed in the 16 March ‘referendum’, should be respected. Finally, the EU, the US and Russia are called upon to serve as guarantors of the above, which will be codified in a United Nations Security Council Resolution. IISS ( seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter OPINION
  19. 19. The contents of this document reveal that it was naive at best to believe that Putin could be sated by Crimea alone. As clearly articulated in the ‘Friends of Ukraine’ plan, Russia has interests in that country that go far beyond the territory it has claimed. [...] You can read the full article, here: First published in IISS ( Photo: Samuel Charap
  20. 20. How to address the language question in a new European state: the Catalan case Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 A historic event On 11th September 2012, an event bringing together one and a half mil- lion people took place on the streets of Barcelona in what was probably the largest public gathering ever seen in Catalonia. On the occasion of the National Day of Catalonia, for the first time since the beginning of the Transi- tion, the people took the opportunity to boldly, unequivocally call for a sec- ond transition, one making the exer- cise of the right to decide a reality in Catalonia. The demand of those taking part was unanimous, and was repeat- edly chanted by the protesters without exception: Independence. I recall saying that afternoon to my companions during the multitudinous event, ‘If [President] Mas calls an elec- tion in the near future, it’ll mean the government has taken notice of public opinion’. Artur Mas’ decision proved to be swift. Elections were called shortly after. Catalonia, a new European state When President Mas called an elec- tion for November 25th 2012 it sig- nalled both the beginning and the end of a chapter. It signalled the end of the ‘building an autonomous region’ chap- ter of Catalanism that began with Prat de la Riba (the creation of the country’s infrastructures), Macià and Compa- nys (the interrupted dream), Pujol (the consolidation of structures) and Mara- gall (a new dream interrupted). It was also the beginning of the chapter of ef- fectively exercising the ‘right to decide’. Catalonia could have been viable as an autonomous community within a Spain of one or two autonomous regions if the remainder were a unitary state (as long as it respected identity), or within an Iberian confederation (with asym- metric confederalism, taking into ac- count the actual existing nations), but Spain has systematically closed all the doors that might have made such an arrangement viable. Therefore, a new chapter is beginning. If all goes well it will end with the establishment of the Catalan state within the European Union. Catalonia’s commitment to Eu- rope is beyond doubt. How will the language question be addressed in a Catalonia with newly- acquired statehood? An independent Catalonia will be able to have a much more open and flexible language poli- cy than a bold autonomous Catalonia within the Kingdom of Spain. Asymmetric official status The Catalan state should be a shining example of the recovery of a national language, multilingualism and harmo- nious coexistence between the speakers of different languages. Catalonia has the potential to become a country with a richer linguistic heritage, both for its citizens (seen individually) and their corresponding collectives. The Catalan state will have to develop the language skills of its citizens. The autonomous Catalonia has already done so, but it will need to go further. Catalonia, the new European state, will have to do every- thing possible to meet the objectives of the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy, which aims to ensure its citizens are proficient in at least three EU languages. It will have to take advantage of the existence in our country of people who dominate (as a first language) such widely spoken languages as Chinese, Arabic, Urdu and Hindi. Not to mention Spanish, which plays and will continue to play a structural role in our nation, in which it is so well established. Given the above, may I suggest the following: 1. Catalan is the national language of Catalonia. As such, it should be the official language of the Catalan Republic. As with any other mem- ber state of the European Union, it is understood that the Catalan language, as the country’s own language, should be the language of social cohesion. 2. Since Occitan is the language of our historical national minority, it must retain its status as a fully of- ficial language in Catalonia. The principle of preserving the linguistic rights of minorities is fundamental for all Catalans. 3. Spanish and English should be the co-official languages of the Catalan Republic. Both being languages for communication with the outside world should allow for easier, more fluid relations with the rest of Eu- rope and the world at large. In addi- tion, Spanish is the mother tongue of a large number of Catalan citizens. Meanwhile English is the common language of communication within the EU and on a global scale. It is clear that Catalan cannot be given the same status as the other lan- guages that have some kind of official recognition within the Republic. Cata- lan is our national language, and there- fore it should be included as such in the future Catalan constitution. Special mention should also be given to Occitan as the language of our historical national minority, in the Val d’Aran. Indeed, the new Statute es- tablished the official status of Occitan (or ‘Aranese’ in the Val d’Aran), which was subsequently enshrined in the Oc- citan Law, which establishes the rights and responsibilities resulting from Occitan’s official status. Occitan’s official status in Catalonia has had an undenia- ble impact on different parts of Occitan within the French state and even the Occitan Valleys of Piedmont (Italy). The impact Bernat Joan - Catalan International View seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter IN DEPTH
  21. 21. of the official status of the language of our historical national mi- nority has been viewed very favourably by the European Union, which sees it as of undeniable value in the respect for minorities and as entirely positive with regard to plurality and diversity. Castilian or Spanish should retain its official status, but (and here comes the asymmetry) as a co-official lan- guage of the state. Castilian or Span- ish is nowadays the language of a very significant part of our society, and as such it cannot be neglected or side- lined. The construction of a new Eu- ropean state will largely be carried out by hundreds of thousands individuals who have Spanish as their first lan- guage and who have decided to make Catalonia their country and who fully identify themselves with it. Catalo- nia must therefore also fully identify itself with the Spanish language, and this can only be done, if it is not to be merely lip-service, by giving Span- ish official language status, with all the rights this entails. Finally, I think it would be a good idea to make English another official language, since it is Europe’s de facto second language. It would be way of highlighting our Europeanness, send- ing a signal to the EU and accentuat- ing multilingualism by having official recognition in Catalonia. It is worth re- membering that a country like Singa- pore (population 4 million, all residing in a large Asian city) has four official languages: Malay, Tamil, Chinese and English. The first language is Malay, Tamil belongs to a historical minority, Chinese belongs to the largest group of immigrants and English is used for in- terfacing with the world. Objectives of asymmetric official status The asymmetric official status of lan- guages in Catalonia will achieve objec- tives that I believe are fundamental to the language policies that need to be applied once the nation can decide its own future: 1. It will ensure the predominance of Catalan, as a fundamental sign of the country’s identity, as a medium of intercommunica- tion between speakers of different languages and as a key to social cohesion within Catalan society. Catalan, therefore, should have the role of the common public language of all Catalans. 2. It will guarantee the future of Oc- citan, of the Aranese of Val d’Aran and undoubtedly of a large part of Catalonia’s linguistic, cultural and historical heritage. It will also con- tinue to have more positive effects on ‘wider’ Occitan. 3. It will respect the language rights of half the population, those who have Spanish as their first lan- guage, and it will promote a solid foundation in language skills for all Catalans, regardless of their first language. Meanwhile, it will also guarantee access to the Hispanic world via an understanding of the language it uses as a medium of communication. 4. It will ensure the expansion of knowledge of the language of ex- change at a global level, with all this implies in terms of opportunities for exchanges with the outside world. In addition, giving English official status would be a pioneering move, by formerly acknowledging an issue that is a de facto reality, both within the European Union itself, as well as in large parts of the planet. The objectives of any state in relation to language should be the following: pri- marily, to ensure their language is well established within the state’s jurisdic- tion. Indeed, all European Union mem- ber states act in accordance with this principle. Secondly, the state must en- sure its society does not become isolated from the rest of Europe, by guarantee- ing high-quality access to the languages most commonly used within the Euro- pean Union: English, French and Ger- man in particular. The state also needs to ensure that its citizens are able to carry out their activities and communicate in different languages. The objective would be ‘one’ (each individual’s first language) ‘plus two’ (two languages they have learnt). In the case of Catalonia, this ideal could easily be more ambitious. Catalonia, as a new European state, should constitute both a model of ef- ficient management of multilingualism and of the full recovery of its own na- tional language, after centuries of lin- guistic and cultural siege and a lack of national and linguistic freedom. BERNAT JOAN: (Eivissa, 1960). Professor of Catalan Philology and a sociolinguist. He has written essays, plays and novels and coordinated various studies on sociolinguistics. He has been a member of the European Parliament (2004-2007) and Secretary of Language Policy of the Catalan Government since 2007. He is part of the European Free Alliance (EFA) and member of the Centre Maurits Coppieters foundation scientific committee. He has contributed to the Languages and Speakers for a Diverse Europe think tank, linked to the Network to Promote Language Diversity. First published in Catalan International View Photo: Catalan International View
  22. 22. Universities and institutions Catalan Language in Education issue #27 - May 2014 The University of Barcelona, the University of Lleida and the University of Valencia are the university institutions with the longest history in the country. The battle for autonomy and its opposition to the Franco dictatorship are some of their common traits; they are today knowledge centres interwoven in the economic and social fabric of Catalonia. The University of Barcelona is the public university with most students and the widest educational offer in Catalonia. The history of the UB has always been linked to that of Barcelona. In medieval times, it was founded in 1450 by Alphonse the Magnanimous, together with the Consell de Cent [Barcelona’s Council of One Hundred], the local government at that time. In 1714, with the Catalan defeat in the War of Succession, Philip V moved all Catalan university studies to Cervera, and it was not until 1842 that they came back to Barcelona. The statute of university autonomy was granted from 1918, but it did not arrive until 1933, one year after being given the Statute of Catalonia by the republican government. But this did not last: it became bogged down by the war and did not get back on its feet until 1985. Despite its difficulties, the UB kept its academic life during the war. For the medicine students, the conflict was an opportunity for first-hand learning. In January 1939, the Franco troops entered the city and most Barcelona and UB intellectuals, e.g. Pere Bosch i Gimpera, Pompeu Fabra, August Pi Sunyer, Joaquim Xirau went on exile. With the dictatorship, the University was shrouded in its darkest periods: its autonomy was cancelled out; its teaching staff was purged, etc. Its academic level dropped and it became a public institution opening its doors only to the ruling elite. In the mid-50’s a new feeling came in with the rise of underground clandestine groups, a trend that increased. So did the university, which increasingly registered more students and reached wider social bases. The university was one of the anti-Franco resistance fronts, together with the workers and the Church. In the early 60’s, the university was, in Franco’s view a problem, just as the ‘Catalan problem’. Students like Ernest Lluch, Jaume Sobrequés and Manuel Vázquez Montalbán actively participated in the anti-Franco battle from the UB. The ‘Caputxinada’, in March 1966, was a reference point in the Catalan opposition to Francoism. The rector Francisco García Valdecasas, as usual, responded with strong repressive measures but the students’ protests continued. Until 1968 the University of Barcelona (UB) was the only recognised official institution of higher studies in the so-called ‘university district’, which comprised Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. From the second half of the 60’s and the early 70’s, the students’ figures rose by 400%: the university was overcrowded. It is in this context that the Autonomous University of Barcelona was created in 1968. By virtue of the reformation of the educational system, a new university model was established: freer and more autonomous. Its first secretary- general was Antoni Serra Ramoneda. Other contributors to its foundation were the scientist Josep Egozcue and Ernest Lluch, who had been expelled from the UB. Parallel to this, the University of Barcelona implanted new territorial headquarters in Palma, Tarragona and Lleida. At governmental level, the election of Antoni M. Badia i Margarit in 1978 opened up a modernization and democratization period. In 1983, the Spanish Congress passed the Law of University Reformation, and in 1985 the UB recovered its autonomy. The rectorships of Josep M. Bricall (1986-1994) and Antoni Caparrós (1994-2001) consolidated its transformation. In 1989 the new faculties started being constructed in the Raval neighbourhood and were inaugurated in 2006. In 1997 the Scientific Park was set in motion. In the 21st century, the challenge of the UB and the Catalan universities is to become integrated in the European Space for Higher Education (ESHE). The history of the University of Lleida (UdL), despite being officially created by virtue of a law passed by the Parliament of Catalonia in 1991, dates back to the year 1300, when king James II the Just granted the city of Lleida the foundation of the first ‘Estudi General’ of the Crown of Aragon. The city was chosen because of its geographical situation and its important economic activity at the time. During its four centuries of existence, the Estudi gained a certain prestige, especially in the field of medicine. Jaume Agramunt wrote at the UdL, in 1348, the ‘Regiment de pestilència’, written in Catalan, one of the first treatise on the Black Death in Europe. The activity of the Estudi General was interrupted with the Catalan defeat in the War of Succession and the city stopped its university studies until the late 60’s. The Estudi General studies were attached, until 1991, to the UB, the UAB and the Polytechnic University of Barcelona. The UdL has a remarkable influence on the Lleida society and its region of Terres de Ponent. In the strategic plan of 2006 its objectives were clearly defined: to become a food and agriculture university and cater for the economic and business needs of the region and its surroundings. As regards research, the UdL has at its disposal the Scientific and Food and Agriculture Technological Park, the Institute of Biomedical Research and the Research Centre of Applied Energies. The history of the University of Valencia (UV) set out in 1499. It was founded by the municipal powers, as traditionallydoneinMediterraneanregions.Inthe16thcentury,itwasimportantforitshumanisticandmedical studies, and this relevance is still maintained. The UV assumed a historical responsibility in disseminating Culturcat - Generalitat de Catalunya seven communities, one language eurocatalan newsletter OUR CULTURE OUR HISTORY
  23. 23. Charles Darwin’s thinking and was the only university in the country to vindicate it for a long time. The UV grew in space and studies during the Franco dictatorship. During those years two new campuses were created, one in Burjassot and the other in Tarongers. The late 50’s and early 60’s saw the first signs of opposition to the Franco regime, which coincided with a growth in students’ numbers. In the 60’s, the students’ opposition increased, promoted by the UB movements. However, this opposition was just ‘a question of minorities’ and ‘incapable of having a stable articulation’, according to the historian Benito Sanz Díaz. The passing in 1994 of the financing plan of the Valencian universities led to an improvement in their infrastructures. Currently, the UV is doing first-class research. It is worth highlighting the Scientific Park, where research groups and spin-off companies live next to each other. Peter III the Ceremonious, count-king of Catalonia and Aragon, founded in 1350 the General Study of Perpignan to compete against the Estudi General of Montpelier, a city seized by the French to the Catalan- Aragonese Crown the year before. In the late 14th century, Perpignan had one of the 25 universities in the world, most of its students coming from Catalan regions. In the early 19th century, by virtue of a decree issued by Napoleon, Perpignan stopped having a university and did not recover it until 1979, although in the 50’s it had reopened some studies dependent of Montpelier. Nowadays, it has six university locations: Perpignan, Narbonne, Carcassone, Font Romeu, Mende and Talteüll. The Summer Catalan University was the result of the Catalan anti-Francoist movement and May 68. It was born in the 1968 conferences held in Prada de Conflent by the Cultural Group of Catalan Youth and the Roussillonian Group of Catalan Studies. In summer 1969 the first Summer Catalan University (UCE) was held, and from then onwards it became a space for freedom and discussion with the participation of the main Catalan figures in the intellectual, political and artistic life in Catalonia. Some of them were Jordi Pujol, Lluís Llach, Raimon, Maria Aurèlia Capmany, Tísner, Miquel Martí i Pol, Joan Oró, among many others. After Franco’s death, the UCE was relegated to a lower limit and started having financial problems. To avoid its disappearance, the Patronat [Board of patrons] was created, made up of the main bodies and rectors of the Catalan universities. In the 21st century, it has opened up new headquarters, the house where Pau Casals lived during his French exile. It not only keeps its spirit of protest but also plays an important scientific role. Most Catalan universities are part of the Xarxa Vives [Vives’ network], an association set up in 1994, which encourages relationship between university institutions in Catalonia, the Valencian Country, the Balearic Islands, French Catalonia and Andorra. This network is made up of twenty-one universities from four different states; the last one, the University of Sàsser, in Alguer, has been added in 2010. Being language the common feature between them, the Xarxa Vives is conceived as a university space that allows coordination in teaching, research and cultural activities, as well as promotion to use Catalan. Its presidency rotates every six months and the presiding university represents the institution officially during its term of office. However, the permanent headquarters of the Xarxa Vives is Castelló de la Plana, with a support centre in Barcelona. TheXarxaVivesprojectwasbrewedduringameetinginJuly1994attheUniversityoftheBalearicIslands(UIB), organised by its then rector, Nadal Batle (1945-1997), an important figure in the Catalan university sphere. On 28 October 1994 its Certificate of constitution was signed in Morella (els Ports) by thirteen universities: Alicante, Barcelona, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Balearic Islands, Jaume I, Lleida, Open University of Catalonia, Polytechnic of Catalonia, Pompeu Fabra, Ramon Llull, Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona) and Valencia. First published in Culturcat Photo by Culturcat ISSN: 2014-9093 | Legal deposit: B. 2198-2013