The Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret i Aleu, and the Minister of Education, Anna Simó Castelló, presented the Catalan school model to the accredited consuls in Catalonia. The ministers and consuls visited La Muntanyeta school in Barcelona and Francesc Aldea i Pérez school in Terrassa. During the visit to the two schools, the consuls learned about the Catalan school model, the educational projects being implemented and they were able to see the facilities first-hand.
This initiative is just one of the actions being taken by the Government of Catalonia to promote the Catalan language, both at home and abroad. It is part of the Government’s programme to support the consular corps in Catalonia, which aims to familiarise representatives of foreign countries with the reality of Catalonia and with the country’s different sectors and national projects.
Minister Serret considers it “indispensable” that members of the consular corps “have first-hand knowledge of the Catalan education system, and especially the language immersion model”. “Through the Catalan school model, consuls also gain an understanding of what Catalan society is like”, said Serret, who pointed out that it is precisely thanks to this model that “we are able to build a more cohesive society, with greater equal opportunities for everyone and more prosperity”. “It is a successful model, which reflects this major nationwide consensus”, she stressed. Finally, Serret wanted to make it clear that “despite the fact that there have been attempts to attack and undermine the Catalan school model, both from institutions and the broader educational community, we will continue to advocate for this successful model.”
La Muntanyeta school, located in the Font de la Guatlla neighbourhood of Barcelona, is a centre that has participated in the ULAE workshops on linguistic uses in the field of education. The aim of these workshops is to provide tools to improve the management of linguistic diversity in schools and to encourage the learning and use of Catalan at school.
The delegation was able to learn about the school’s linguistic project, a school that brings together pupils with 24 different languages of origin. The head teacher spoke to the consuls and ministers about the linguistic situation both in the classroom and in the other areas of the school, and also about the benefits that immersion brings to the pupils.
Minister Anna Simó explained that “we want our students to know at least three languages: Catalan, Spanish, English or another foreign language, and Aranese in Aran”. “We want Catalan to be a language that can be spoken everywhere and for it not to become a minority language. We want it on an equal footing with other languages. That is why school is so important, to provide equal opportunities for our students,” Simó said.
Temporary support programme for the consular corps in Catalonia
The visit to Barcelona and Terrassa to learn about the Catalan school model is part of the Government of Catalonia’s temporary support programme for the consular corps in Catalonia. The aim is to establish trusting, diligent working relations with foreign governments through their representatives in Barcelona, as well as to build alliances and promote collaboration. A further aim is to provide first-hand knowledge of Catalonia’s potential through visits to facilities and premises all over the country and across all sectors. Over the last few months, visits have been organised to the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, the Alba Synchrotron, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat railways, the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park, the Hydrogen Valley of Catalonia, the Alicia Foundation, the National Art Museum of Catalonia and the Palau de la Música, among others.