• Spain's news in English

Spanish unions slam 'biased' English exam

Steve Tallantyre · 20 Jun 2014, 10:54

Published: 20 Jun 2014 10:54 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In order to attain an "Extraordinary Baccalaureate Prize" for academic achievement in Badajoz, capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura in the west of Spain, students must pass an English exam.

But last Tuesday the exam paper contained an unusual exercise; after a description of the recent surge in popularity of Podemos, the left-wing political party, students were obliged to write a composition answering the question, "How would you convince a friend not to vote for Podemos?"

Podemos, whose name translates as "we can", romped to a surprise fourth place in May's European parliamentary elections on an anti-austerity platform.

Its success under the guidance of charismatic leader Pablo Iglesias has led to attacks from members of Spain's political establishment, who have compared Iglesias to figures ranging from Hitler to Fidel Castro.

Podemos posted a photo of part of the offending paper, taken by a student, on their website on Wednesday this week, alongside a translation and the comment, "We've made a lot of people nervous who are too used to privilege. We're going to keep on doing it."

Extremadura's local government Education Council described the exam question as "inappropriate and unfair" but said that it "could not pre-emptively monitor teachers in the preparation of exams."

The question was condemned by the Extremadura Workers and Teachers Union (STE-Ext) who released a statement describing it as "completely unfair, biased and the reflection of a sick society."

"Many people are obviously nervous about the last European elections. But it is the responsibility of the administration of Monago [Extremadura's ruling right-wing Popular Party president], which certainly did not expect to have such a poor showing, that must ensure that this does not happen," it added.

Story continues below…

Spanish daily Publico noted that the union have asked that the exam be considered null and void, "publically recognizing its unsuitability" and that re-sits should be organized.

The STE-Ext noted "The exam is one more example of the political ideology that they are trying to impose by force in classrooms."

It added, "This is the latest example but in recent weeks they have approved the Primary school curriculum adapted to the LOMCE [Spain's new education law] in which religious education classes have been increased to the maximum number permitted, two hours per week, the same as core subjects and more than foreign languages."

Steve Tallantyre (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available