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Spanish newspaper claims that Madrid should control Catalan, Basque and Galician education
Bruxelles - Brussel, Wednesday, 28 January 2009
by Davyth Hicks The conservative Spanish paper EL Mundo published an opinion poll recently (January 6th) which says that 79% of Spaniards want to control education in the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia. Also, that 61% would not work in the public sector in the autonomous communities because they would have to learn the language. Controversially the paper says that 87% want to see a law guaranteeing Spanish medium education, despite the lack of demand for it, in Catalonia, Euskadi and Galicia.
Speaking to Eurolang, Catalan language expert Miquel Strubell said: “The Spanish government has not done anything significant in the past 30 years, that is since the end of the Franco dictatorship, to improve regional perceptions and stereotypes.
“This stereotype has been taken advantage of by radical and rightwing Spanish media to stir up boycotts against Catalan products, movements against Catalan devolution, and to intoxicate public opinion with mostly false, trumped-up information about Catalonia's language policies."
Mr Strubell added that: “El Mundo's survey, though not specifically mentioning any part of Spain in the questionnaire has clearly been perceived by interviewees as referring to Catalonia.” The survey reflects the campaign by the pro-Spanish language group 'Manifiesto en Defensa de la Lengua Común', which sees Spanish as being “endangered” by Basque, Catalan, and Galician. However, many see the campaign as flawed. In the Basque Country, for example, it is the lack of parental demand for the Spanish-medium only model which has led to it almost disappearing from schools.
Mr Strubell continued: “What the rightist Partido Popular has concentrated on would be dismissed at a stroke in multilingual countries such as Switzerland or -with some local exceptions- Belgium: they falsely claim that there is a universal right for parents to choose the language of instruction for their children's public schooling.
“They contrast the language educational policies of the Basque country and Valencia, for instance - which are portrayed as idyllic models - where there are separate language-defined schools or streams, with Catalonia's model, which while allowing for individual attention by teachers for Spanish-speaking infants if their parents ask for it, has in formal terms Catalan as its main medium of instruction.
"The reason for this is simple," says Strubell, "Spanish-medium schools in the 1980s were found to be unable to meet the school-leaving requirements of their Spanish-speaking pupils, in terms of proficiency in both the official languages - Catalan and Spanish, whereas Catalan-medium schools did, and still do.” (Eurolang 2009)
El Mundo opinion pollhttp://www.elmundo.es/papel/2009/01/06/ ... 72072.html