The new law on language learning at school has gone ahead in Parliament with the support of 78% of deputies, after several months of anxiety in which the consensus has been very close to breaking. Finally the text has reached the plenary session this Wednesday, already with the endorsement of the Council of Statutory Guarantees, and has received the support of the four parties that promoted it, PSC, ERC, Junts and comuns. The objective is to modify and update the legal framework on the use of Catalan as a reference language and, at the same time, recognize Spanish as a “curricular” language for the first time.
This new regulation that comes in the midst of a clash between the Government and the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia due to the sentence that imposes 25% of Spanish in all Catalan schools. This law does not explicitly reject the mandates of the sentence, as the decree law that the Executive approved two weeks ago does, but it establishes a regulation different from the one that the court invoked to ensure that Spanish should be guaranteed as the vehicular language, At the same time, it indicates that the distribution between the Catalan and Spanish languages must be determined based on the pedagogical needs and the sociolinguistic environment of each center.
Despite overwhelming support, the law’s effects are controversial because groups have differing interpretations. For the parties of the Government, the norm allows to “shield” the linguistic immersion and continue using Catalan as the only vehicular language. The PSC, on the other hand, considers that the norm complies with the Constitutional ruling that indicates that Spanish must be vehicular and, therefore, that it will allow a greater use of Spanish in schools. The Statutory Guarantees Council interprets it in the same way, which in its opinion on Tuesday indicated that the regulations establish a “wider” use of the Spanish language.
These doubts about the effects of the regulations have not clouded the satisfaction of all the groups for the broad consensus reached, a fact that has been highlighted by both President Pere Aragonès and the leader of the opposition, Salvador Illa, and also the leaders of Junts and commons “An open consensus”, defended Aragonès, “which shows that the Parliament does not resign from its obligation to legislate”. “The best thing we can do for the language is to reach broad agreements,” agreed the socialist leader.
Among those in favor of linguistic immersion, the only party that has charged against the law has been the CUP. “This law opens the door to the use of Spanish beyond learning the language”, assured the anti-capitalist deputy Carles Riera. “With the law that they approve today, they are giving the reason to the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, whose arguments are not 25%, but to convert Spanish into the vehicular language”, he assured.
On the other side, Vox, Ciudadanos and PP have also charged harshly against the law and, very especially, against the PSC. “It is shameful that you, by staying in power, succumb to the most supremacist discourses. Do not count on us so that we remain silent before an increasingly runaway Catalan nationalism and that does not have a counter story in a party like the PSC”, assured Carlos Carrizosa, from Cs. Ignacio Garriga, for his part, has assured that the extreme right will do everything possible to paralyze this regulation.
As of its approval, the new law on language use in schools and the decree on the preparation of language projects – which does not have the support of the PSC – will constitute the new legal framework for compulsory education centers in Catalonia. A regulation that will prove its effects already from the next course and that will face the examination of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, vigilant that the 25% of Castilian is fulfilled.