Majorca teachers fight trilingual education

Majorca teachers fight trilingual education
A tenth of the islands’ population (110,000 people) took part in street demos across Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Photo: YouTube
Thousands of teachers and parents took to the streets of the Balearic Islands' four capitals on Sunday to protest against a new trilingual education law which will place more emphasis on English rather than on Catalan.

A tenth of the islands' population (110,000 people) took part in street demos across Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera to voice their discontent against the ruling Popular Party’s decision to introduce a controversial trilingual education model in the islands.

Primary and secondary school teachers in the archipelago have been on strike since September 16th in the hope that the PP will not impose a model which they believe is aimed at undermining the role of Catalan in the classroom.

"I'm taking part in the protests to honour my school Catalan teacher who fought for us to learn and love our language in the difficult post-civil war years," retired banker Xisco B. told Spanish daily El País.

He was one of the 80,000 protesters who took to the streets of Majorca’s capital Palma, although government officials have put the total figure at 70,000.

Although it is not yet clear how many parents have objected to the delay in starting the school year caused by 80 percent of the islands’ teachers being on strike, there have been no altercations outside the islands’ schools as a result.

In fact, contrary to government expectations, the striking teachers seem to have full support from parents, despite the disruption to their children's education.

In a bid to stop teachers from voicing their dissatisfaction in the classroom, the ruling Popular party has also introduced a law which bans all red and yellow striped flags – Catalonia's pro-independence senyerá – from being displayed in schools in Spain.

Any infringement, as well as separatist discourse on the part of educators, will cost schools in the Balearics and Catalonia a €10,000 fine.

A Catalan politician was given his marching orders in the Spanish parliament last Tuesday when he criticized the controversial education law by addressing  other politicians in English.

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