Journalist Eduard Voltas dismantles the logic of silencing teachers

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup, Vilaweb

Photo: Journalist Eduard Voltas and political commentator Astrid Barrio (Credit: Vilaweb)

By Vilaweb Staff Writers

From 3rd May, 2018

A two minute video of an intervention by journalist Eduard Voltas on the ‘Més 3/24’ (More 3/24) program from Catalan TV3, has gone viral. In it, Voltas defends the modern Catalan school system, stating it goes beyond purely curricular aspects, and promotes critical thinking and debate on problems which extend out of the classroom, and affect society. His assertions came as a response to political theorist, Astrid Barrio, who was questioning whether “politics can be discussed in school”.

According to Voltas: “The Catalan school aims to be a modern school system. Catalan laws state it must be so. It focuses not only on curricular aspects; modern school is much more than that. My daughter is twelve, is in the first year of the institute [first year of high school] and they have a space that they call the Agora, which is where they discuss and speak not only about problems in the school, but also of problems in the neighborhood and wider society as a whole. The shaping of critically engaged citizens, an exchange of opinions, interventions by the teachers to guide the debates – this is what teachers study for and this is the reason they are professionals and we put our children in their hands. This is the modern Catalan school.”

He later adds: “After August 17th [the day of the terrorist attacks in Barcelona, in 2017], if school had been in session, then it is obvious that all schools in Catalonia would have spoken of the subject. Because that had to be examined, discussed, and that’s about politics. It is not talking about political parties, but of politics in the most noble sense of the word; those things which are the affairs of the collective. And the emotional, brutal impact that the images of the first of October had on children, seeing the Civil Guard smashing down doors of schools, just like their schools, if that was not discussed the next day in class, it would be wrong, and they would be being unprofessional, and not fulfilling one of the core functions of modern schooling.”

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