French government cuts teaching posts for minoritised languages

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Feb 17 17:36:47 UTC 2004

French government cuts teaching posts for minoritised languages
Brussel / Bruxelles 2/16/2004 , by Alexia Bos Sol & Davyth Hicks

While Catalan has been under attack lately by Spanish politicians, the
French state is reducing teaching posts for the minoritised languages in
its territories.

According to Vilaweb, the Catalan online journal, in France, qualified
teachers for any of what the French administration calls 'regional
languages', for example, Basque, Breton, Catalan, and Occitan, must pass
an examination (CAPES, the Certificat dAptitude au Professorat de
LEnseignement du Second Degree), taken by specialised juries appointed by
the administration. However, chairpersons of these juries have issued a
public statement denouncing the drastic reduction in posts for minoritised
language teachers. The reduction is an initiative of the French

These actions also led to the week long hunger strike by a Breton school
girl in Kemperle when her Breton lessons were threatened with cutbacks at
the end of January.

According to a press release signed by the Presidents of the juries of
Basque, Breton, Catalan and Occitan languages, the decrease during this
year of the number of posts offered to CAPES of regional languages clearly
means that there is no recognition, no respect, and no will to support
Basque, Breton, Catalan or Occitan languages.

According to Catalan media, Occitan, for instance, will lose nine posts
(it will have four instead of the 13 it used to have) for qualified
teachers, and Catalan will lose two (one instead of three).

The Presidents also regret that the reduction has been announced barely
one month before examinations, and that the whole affair proves that
French government is decidedly set against 'regional' languages.

The four Presidents of the CAPES jury concluded in their joint statement
that 'these languages constitute a richness for France, Europe and
humanity'. They also asked for an 'urgent change and a return to the
previous levels of recruitment'.

However, late last week progress appeared to be made when the Minister of
National Education, Luc Ferry, proposed to start working towards defining
the teaching methods and legal aspects that would by their nature
establish the Diwan [Breton-medium] school network in the heart of the
public service, and respecting the principles laid down by the Conseil
dEtat. A first meeting to deal with the issue will take place in March.

Luc Ferry spoke to Anne le Corr, Diwan Vice-President, in a meeting which
the Ministry described as very constructive.

The Minister also said that he supports the teaching of Breton, and that
moreover, the place of bilingual teaching in the educational system is an
element of richness for the pupils. (Eurolang)

 Minority Languages [information provided by EBLUL]

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