Many of you live in countries all over the world, whether you are Catalan or not, can you imagine a foreign country pulling out a sentence that makes teaching in schools in your country’s own language illegal and that you will now have to also teach a foreign language? How would you call this situation? Colonisation. This is exactly what is happening right now in Catalonia, thanks to last summer’s sentence from the Spanish Constitutional Court about the Catalan Statute of Autonomy the first political consequences are arising.
As it was already predicted, and conveniently right after the Autonomous Catalan elections, so as not to stir the Catalan cocktail, the Spanish Supreme Court has passed a sentence that says that the Catalan immersion system that currently exists and that has so successfully contributed to keep the Catalan language alive has to be substituted for a mixed one with Spanish. The claim for schooling in Spanish is not even a minority one, it’s a residual one. The lawsuits against the immersion system represent a total of 3 families for the whole of Catalonia.
This is how the Spanish use their democracy to their advantage, political decisions enforced through the legal system, no debate, no physical violence, they are sophisticating their ways to achieve the same means.
The newly formed Catalan government (CiU), instead of the logical reaction that any real government would have against such an attack towards its country’s culture has just evaded the question and claimed that the Spanish Supreme Court cannot change laws, which is true, but that won’t change the fact that any minute now the Spanish Parliament could potentially pull a new law that will override the Catalan education law and enforce a new system. Will the Catalan government react firmly and refuse to obey?
The sad truth is that while Catalonia remains part of Spain as an Autonomous Community they can use their system to do this and much more. Catalans, after almost 300 years of occupation and two dictatorships in the last century aimed against them are demoralised and meek but the situation is grave. Slowly facts are exposing us to the reality, without a state there’s no way we’ll have the same rights as any other nation. And in the meantime the Spanish keep doing their centuries long work.
7 thoughts on “The Spanish abolish Catalan language immersion in schools”
3 families out of 1.25 million complain and we get this shocking sentence, against a policy that has the backing of 85% of our elected representatives.
The people who are against Catalan as the main vehicular language in schools are intent on creating ghettos where hundreds of school kids leave school without being bilingual. With the current system, already a high number of pupils leave school with a shaky command of Catalan language, any changes to the system to reduce the hours Catalan language is used in class will only worsen this situation, creating a section of the population unable to be economically productive in a bilingual country.
What I find more irritable is that Spanish is already the vehicular language in the class whenever the teacher thinks it is the best way to explain a concept to a pupil. To say that all school classes are in Catalan is to be ignorant of the work teachers do. The people who are against the current system want social division and to further erode Catalan language until it disappears.
Furthermore, none of the Spanish nationalist parties have come up with any explanations as to who and how this would be paid. Not a penny of the Catalan budget should come off to pay for any changes in policy imposed from an unelected tribunal against the settled will of the Catalan people on this matter.
I hope all Catalan parties (apart from the Spanish nationalists of PP and Cs) stand together on this. As someone who lives in a country with a two-tier educational system I am only too aware of the social division such system would also create in Catalonia. To me, and I write this as the son of two Spanish parents (Cadiz and Ciudad Real), the current system is the only way to ensure that social cohesion. That should be the most precious thing, something to be cherished. Yet, the Spanish state is intent of inflicting as much damage to Catalonia as they can, be it economically, politically or socially with this disgraceful ruling.
Thanks for your excellent comment Rab
firstly catalonia is still part of spain, not yet independent.
secondly, no families were initially given a choice of whether to study in castillian or catalan, change was imposed by the regional government.
thirdly there is nothing like the whole of spain colonising catalonia, spain is composed of many different but related people. certain people have lost their native language, however, the situation is still better than some countries like france. nord catalunya springs to mind. the asturians for example fought more fiercely than catalans in the spanish civil war. madrid was the last stronghold of the republic and thousands were killed. remember the communeros also. more, importantly there has been so much mixing that there is nothing like a catalan with no relatives or blood from other regions of spain. same goes for the rest of spain. santiago bernabeu is an example, catalan surname. xavi hernandez and victor valdes.
it is also because of an inferiority complex (charnego complex)and a lack of confidence that almost 50 percent of residents in catalunya who are originally from andalucia, murcia, extremadura etc do not speak up for their rights because of an autocratic artificial imposition of catalan identity on them. basically, with us or become the enemy. most of these people descend from impoverished people seeking a better life and if it was not for them catalunya would have a population of no more than 3 million today and a weaker econonmy.
to RAB, in England we have a saying a Donkey can be born in a stable but that does not make it a horse. Your parents are no less andalucian and castillian than you are. blood cannot be diluted. you could be born in antarctica but that does not make you inuit.
catalan should be respected and taught so it does dissapear but not at the expense of castillian which is the mother tounge of alot of people in catalonia.
why the HATE Albert, embrace the love that the post franco spain has to offer whether you are galician, catalan, basque, galician, asturian, andalucian……………….
Firstly, England cannot give anyone lessons about integrating immigrants. If you believe what you say in your post not only you would have to make urdu, punjabi or bengali official languages in your country but have practically all mainstream newspapers, TV stations, books and products you buy exclusively in those languages to grasp a feel of how it feels to be here in Catalonia trying to live in Catalan.
Secondly, your theories on nationality by blood are downright racist. Luckily we are much more tolerant and believe that anyone who learns our culture and integrates in our society is a Catalan.
Thirdly, read history, Catalonia was invaded, colonised and a foreign language imposed. Partly thanks to the betrayal of the English, by the way.
Finally, in Spain only Castillian is official and evidently since we all pay taxes all languages in the Spanish state should be official. Since this is never going to happen in Spain Catalonia must become independent for its culture to survive. When that happens not only will our rights be more easily defended but people won’t question it since countries are never criticised for enforcing their language. Try getting a job in your country without speaking English.
I concur with the point about England not being a good example of integrating immigrants. Too much of what is done in the UK is the result of knee-jerk reactions to complaints and mismanaged which ends up making things worse. Some of the things I’ve heard English people say over the years are downright reprehensible.
When I moved to England from Catalunya-Nord, I was told speaking my own language was rude so guess what – I stopped – The language is practically dead in me now and I have an uphill struggle at 30yrs of age to learn it again.
Speaking of jobs, my wife too is European from outside England and her qualifications aren’t even recognised in England so applying for jobs is a nightmare because she has to either pay £50 per qualification to have them converted or apply for minimum wage jobs.
For a European ‘Union’ there sure doesn’t seem to be much ‘unity’ in it.