The Minister of Universities, Manuel Castells , defended this Wednesday the new Education law, known as the Celaá law , and has expressed his opinion on the most controversial issue of the regulation, the disappearance of the reference that Spanish should be a vehicular languagein all Spain.
“Before 2013 there was no legal indication that Spanish should be the vehicular language and there was never any problem in Catalonia, I can say that from my own experience”, has maintained Castells (although he was born in Hellín Albacete, the sociologist grew up and studied in Barcelona, in addition to maintaining a professional relationship with this community).
According to Castells, what the new law does “is simply to return to the situation that existed and that was altered by a series of initiatives of different kinds that ultimately poisoned the climate of coexistence in a situation in which there were not all these problems” .
The minister has made the statements to questions from the press at a telematic press conference organized to address the impact of the pandemic on university campuses.
Actually, before 2013 – when the so-called Wert law, approved by the PP, introduced the term “vehicular” in an educational norm – the use of Spanish in Catalan schools had indeed generated problems and complaints from families who claimed that their children received instruction in that language.
In 2010, the Constitutional Court ruled, in line with what it had already said in 1994, that in Catalonia, where a linguistic immersion model had been operating for decades (in which only Castilian language and literature are given in this language), Castilian it must be the vehicular language.
That same year, the Supreme Court agreed with three Catalan families who demanded that their children be educated with Spanish as the vehicular language. And in 2015,
Since then, the courts have handed down around 80 sentences in the same sense, according to the Association for a Bilingual School, although the rulings have only been directly applied to the children of those who have appealed, and the Generalitat has avoided making a structural change.
The minister has recommended, on the other hand, that university students take “a test” for the coronavirus before returning home for Christmas for “common sense and for the peace of mind” of their families.
The Ministry of Health is preparing “some recommendations” in this regard, said Castells, who added that the decision will ultimately correspond to the public health services of the autonomous communities.
Castells has also stated, given the recent opening of new private universities, that it is not concerned that their number continues to increase, but rather “that they are universities”, in an apparent reference to the poor quality of some of the new campuses.
The minister has said that “shortly” a decree will be published that will establish “strict criteria” for the opening of new university centers.