Catalan language row sets Spanish tongues wagging 加泰隆尼亞語教學在西班牙引發議論

Sat, Jan 05, 2013 - Page 10

Tensions between Spain’s Catalonia region and the central government have flared over a national education reform that targets the sensitive issue of Catalan language teaching in schools.

In a sign of how dear the right to teaching in Catalan is to inhabitants of the northeastern region, Barcelona Football Club — one of Catalonia’s most powerful institutions — spoke out to defend it.

“FC Barcelona wishes to express its active support for the Catalan language and the model of linguistic immersion which has been employed in Catalonia over the last 34 years,” it said in a statement.

“The Catalan language and its teaching in our schools form part of our identity and are key elements for social cohesion and coexistence within our country.”

Catalonia’s leaders and media jumped on the defensive after national Education Minister Jose Ignacio Wert proposed an education reform focusing on Spanish language teaching in all regions.

Wert proposed to stop obliging students in Catalonia to speak Catalan in order to study at universities there, and to make the region pay for private schooling in Spanish for children whose parents demanded it.

“It could only come from a total ignorance of Catalonia or simply from bad faith,” said the regional government’s spokesman Francesc Homs. “If it is necessary to appeal to the Constitutional Court, we will do so.”