According to a new decree passed today by the Spanish Council of Ministers, the Catalan government will be deducted the cost of private schooling –at 6,057€– for every student whose parents refuse to take to Catalan public schools. This measure effectively becomes “a fine”, as the Catalan minister for Education, Irene Rigau, denounced today.
Rigau explained that there is a political will by the Spanish government to “establish a two-track system”, one for Catalan-medium education and the other one with Catalan and Spanish sharing exactly 50% of the classroom time, which would effectively segregate students by language.
The current educational system in Catalonia, which was put in place following the end of the Catalan-suppressing dictatorship in the late seventies, features Catalan as the medium language, plus a flexible amount of Spanish-language lessons, which varies between a minimum 3 weekly hours of Spanish language and literature up to as many hours as each centre considers necessary.
Reuters ran a story on the subject earlier this week:
Reuters | Catalan language revival fuels backlash in Spain
There are now some 10 million Catalan speakers in or near the region bordering France and the Mediterranean, putting the language in a league with Swedish and Greek after it was repressed under the 1939-1975 dictatorship of Francisco Franco. “We feel so proud to have achieved this, but we can’t relax now. It’s still a daily battle,” says [primary school principal Francesca] Munoz, who led her school’s transition to Catalan three decades ago, when all the teachers were retrained.