language and education

language and education
   Given the different sociolinguistic circumstances surrounding each of Spain's minority languages, attempts to increase their educational status have varied according to circumstance. Perhaps the most complex response has been that of the autonomous community, faced with the lowest proportion of proficient speakers and the greatest linguistic distance between Basque and Spanish.
   Despite Franco's prohibition of minority languages, in the 1960s a number of Basquemedium schools (ikastolas) were set up clandestinely and in the 1970s these came to be tolerated by the regime. However, real efforts both to introduce Basque to the curriculum and to increase its use as medium of instruction did not start until the enactment of the constitution of 1978. In addition to the prevailing situation in which Basque did not figure anywhere in the curriculum (unofficially referred to as Model X), three new models of education were offered from 1979–80 onwards: Model A (instruction in Spanish with Basque as a subject); Model B (some subjects delivered in Spanish and some in Basque); and Model D (instruction in Basque with Spanish as a subject). While initially some 75 percent of pupils continued to be taught according to Model X with a small fraction receiving instruction through Basque, by the end of the 1980s Model X had virtually disappeared and by the mid-1990s Model A accounted for less than half of the intake. Indeed, Model A may disappear entirely from the province of Guipuzcoa by the year 2000. In the Basquespeaking areas of Navarre progress has been less marked and the autonomous community makes provision for what is called Model G (the equivalent of Model X).
   In Catalonia, since the 1978 constitution, the Generalitat has followed a robust policy of promoting Catalan as the medium of instruction. There has been rapid Catalanization of both public and private education, supported by massive investments in materials creation and teacher retraining. One of the most successful innovations has been immersion in Catalan, an idea adopted from French Canada and implemented from pre-school education onwards. Furthermore, Catalan has been adopted as official language of the main universities and while members of staff may opt to give classes in the language of their choice, this is increasingly Catalan. In the autonomous communities of Valencia and the Balearics, progress has been much less swift, partly due to a lack of political will and partly, in the case of Valencia, due to a reluctance, for reasons of linguistic and regional identity, to import staff and materials from Catalonia.
   In Galicia a lack of political will on the part of the Xunta and a certain hostility on the part of a population sensitive to the lack of social prestige of Galician meant that its introduction into education was initially very slow. Subsequently, however, as the language has gained in status and more teachers have been trained, the teaching of Galician as a subject has become widespread. Nonetheless, teaching is, for the most part, carried out through the medium of Spanish. In all areas resistance has been noted on the part of some parents and pupils anxious for a greater concentration on the learning of "world" rather than minority languages.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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