The Government has announced this Thursday a plan to promote the use of the Catalan language in educational centers that seeks to promote Catalan inside and outside the classroom. After an analysis of the linguistic uses of students in the 4th year of ESO, a report carried out by the Consell Superior d’Avaluació del Sistema Educatiu has revealed data that “worries” the Department of Education of the Generalitat. Only 21.4% of students always interact in Catalan in group activities, compared to 67.8% who did so in 2006. Thus, it has been shown that the use of the Catalan language is less and less frequent and that this is something that happens in non-school times, such as in the canteens, extracurricular activities and patios. The Generalitat, however, has not specified what methods it will use to promote the use of Catalan or if there will be sanctions; nor has it revealed the amount that will go to this plan.
The Minister of Culture, Natàlia Garriga, has highlighted that Catalan has suffered many threats in the last 10 years and that it has lived through a “difficult context”. But she has also assured that now we are experiencing a moment of change and that “the Government is entering a new stage in terms of language policy.” Garriga has stated that there will be a collective effort by the entire Generalitat to review the use of Catalan department by department. But the real change will be in the schools, according to the counselor. The Minister of Education, Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, has been in charge of presenting the plan that will be applied in the next four years in all the educational centers of the community that this 2021-2022 academic year will reach 200 of them. “Catalan has been essential for the cohesion of the country and we have noticed a great decrease in its use, so it is time to approach it with courage”, Cambray has confirmed.
Those responsible for knowing the specific situations of each center will be the driving groups. These groups, made up of teachers and language and social cohesion advisors (LIC), must observe learning situations among students, inside and outside the classroom, collect information and carry out the actions they deem necessary to promote and improve the use of the Catalan language. In accordance with this new plan, teachers must be trained to have the necessary tools to promote the use of Catalan in their schools. Thus, teachers, families and everyone related to the educational environment will receive training courses in capsule format.
What until now was a simple perception of a less habitual use of Catalan, has been able to be demonstrated through the data from the report of the Consell Superior d’Avaluació del Sistema Educatiu. Not only is there less interaction in Catalan among students, but there is a significant evolution in the use of the language that students make when addressing the teacher. If in 2006 there were 56% of students who did it, now they are only 39.4%. The same happens in reverse. The teacher has also tended to use the Catalan language less when speaking with his students. In 2006 it was 63.7%, in 2013 61.1% and in 2021 it has dropped to 46.8%.
“The school in Catalonia in Catalan, before, now and always”, Cambray has decreed. The plan is one more tool to promote and increase the social use of Catalan. For now, the indicators are being prepared that will allow each center to be diagnosed and that will make possible the subsequent development of contextualized training actions to raise awareness and sensitization of the use of the language and, above all, to “enhance the role of the teacher as a model linguistic”, according to what Cambray has verified. Public and subsidized centers will enter the plan, and in the first selection of 200 of them the representativeness and the different educational stages will be taken into account, but it aspires to apply it in the 1,000 centers of the country.
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