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Controversy As Valencian Language Faces Elimination In Schools

The leader of the Popular Party and candidate for the Presidency of the Government, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, during the closing of the PP campaign, on 21 July 2023 in Galicia, Spain. His Party has been accused of being a wolf in sheepskin after an announcement of what they intend to do with the Valencian classroom issue. M.DYLAN/EUROPA PRESS VIA GETTY IMAGES.

The People’s Party (PP) has shown in the Valencian Community that it is no sheep, as it would have us believe, but a wolf. This is the harsh reality behind the honeyed words Alberto Núñez Feijóo speaks every time he travels to Catalonia, and on Thursday we had an announcement of what he intends to do with the issue of Valencian in the classrooms. 

“The new Valencian minister of Education, PP’s José Antonio Rovira, announced he will eliminate the compulsory 25% Valencian quota as the main language for students who have specifically asked not to take the subject.” said El Nacional En.

He will immediately initiate all necessary legal proceedings in the Valencian Parliament to modify the law of multilingualism approved in 2018 by the government headed by socialist Ximo Puig and formed by the Valencian Socialists, Compromís and Unidas Podemos.

In eight regions where the Valencian language is currently symbolic or residual, and a plan to boost its use had been established —Alto Palancia (Castellón), Plana de Utiel, Rincón de Ademuz, Hoya de Buñol, Valle de Ayora, Los Serranos and Canal de Navarrés (Valencia) and Bajo Segura (Alicante)— the situation will return to the previous one. 

Valencia, Placa de l’Ajuntament, Town Hall Square, Casa Ernesto Ferrer building. The new Valencian minister of Education, PP’s José Antonio Rovira, announced he will eliminate the compulsory 25% Valencian quota as the main language for students who have specifically asked not to take the subject. JEFFREY GREENBERG/UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP VIA GETTY IMAGES.

Students receive education in English, and will go from trilingualism —Spanish, Valencian and English— to a bilingualism which ignores the community’s native language. This paradox seems to matter very little to the Valencian minister of Education.

We will see what ends up happening in other Valencian schools, but José Antonio Rovira’s approach does not bode well. The lack of Valencian knowledge cannot be a disincentive for its learning if we intend to have a coherent linguistic policy. It would be, applied to Catalonia, comparable to enforcing two educational models depending on how much Catalan is spoken in a region. And, furthermore, to encourage its elimination if it is not widely spoken. With the Spanish elections just around the corner, on July 23rd, what is happening so close to us and regarding an issue so essential to the country’s identity cannot be a minor matter.

“The blatant objective of denationalizing Catalonia, eliminating or reducing its identity signs, is an old goal of the Spanish right wing. Ciudadanos was born, in part, for this purpose, and if there was one thing it did with zeal from the very beginning, it was going against the Catalan language,” said El Nacional En.

Today it no longer exists, but from that fire remain ashes, which the PP is conveniently trying to take advantage of in order not to leave any space for Vox. The right wing has seen in the language issue a battle they intend to take to the end, and it is important that in this matter consensus is re-established beyond the pro-independence parties. The Catalan language as a collective heritage, a symbol of the Catalan nation and a sign of the country’s survival. These are very basic rules, but they will have to be recovered from the trenches of yesteryear if we do not want Catalan to end up being even more abused by the Spanish government than it is today. Because now it is the PP, but if the PSOE had done its homework, this barrage would be much more difficult to .

Produced in association with El Nacional En

(Additional reporting provided by El Nacional En)

Edited by Judy J. Rotich

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