BARCELONA : Catalans protest against a mandate for more Spanish in schools.

Thousands of Catalans took to the streets of Barcelona on Saturday to protest against a court decision that mandates that 25pc of all school subjects be taught in Spanish, reducing the still predominant use of the local Catalan language in classrooms.

Demonstrators say this would threaten their cherished educational system, which has helped bring Catalan back to common use after it had been suppressed during the 20th century dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

It is not proper of a democracy that a court invalidates an educational system that is supported by society and its parliament, said scar Escuder, president of Platform for the Language, a grassroots group that promotes the use of Catalan who joined the march.

According to our polls, 82pc of Catalans support the current system.

The renewed defense of the Catalan language also promises to galvanize the region's separatist movement that has been struggling to maintain its unity. Several marchers carried pro-independence flags, and the movement's leaders were in attendance.

But families who want their children to receive more learning in Spanish say the current system is violating their rights to study in the nations common tongue.

The march comes less than a month since Spain's Supreme Court upheld the 2020 decision by a lower court in Catalonia that ruled in favor on a suit brought by the Spain's previous conservative government against Catalonia's Department of Education.

The Supreme Court tossed out an appeal by the Catalan government against the previous ruling that the region's schools must guarantee at least 25pc of academic subjects be taught in Spanish.

That would translate into roughly doubling the hours Catalan students are taught in Spanish from one subject to two.

Currently, most schools only use Spanish in Spanish language class, leaving everything else to be taught in Catalan. [AP]


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