Valencia: Spanish region drops compulsory English language citizenship classes

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Dec 17 14:43:08 UTC 2008

Spanish region drops compulsory English language citizenship classes

A controversial educational scheme that forced schools in Spain's
Valencia region to teach compulsory citizenship classes in the English
language has been dropped after a wave of protests from teachers and

By Fiona Govan in Madrid
Last Updated: 5:11PM GMT 16 Dec 2008

The move was announced on Tuesday in a bid to avert a teachers' strike
called for on Wednesday and comes after weeks of protests by educators
in the eastern autonomous region who said the "absurd" measure had
caused "classroom chaos". Spain's socialist government of Jose Luis
Rodriguez Zapatero introduced the subject 'Education for Citizenship'
to the curriculum this year to replace the traditional religious
studies of the Catholic Church.
But the conservative Popular Party led regional government of Valencia
in eastern Spain had insisted the new course in ethics was taught in
English, claiming it would enhance the trilingual policy of a region
that has both Spanish and Valenciano as its official languages.

Critics claimed the measure was in protest by the conservative
Valencian government against the order by Madrid to teach compulsory
classes that instruct students in good behaviour, ethics and issues
contrary to Catholic teachings such as gay marriage and abortion.
School inspectors widely reported that students, who are taught the
classes in the second year of secondary school, lacked the sufficient
language skills to follow the subject matter and it had become
"practically impossible for teachers to do their job".  "We reject the
regional government's attempt to impose such absurd and arbitrary
obstacles in the path of teachers and schools trying to teach the
Education for Citizenship curriculum," concluded the School Inspectors
Association at their conference last month.

The regional government, which reportedly spent around 8 million euros
employing classroom translators, on Tuesday said it would review its
policy and that the classes could be taught in either Spanish or the
official regional language of Valenciano.

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