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SPAIN AND THE US

Spain and the US to exchange more language assistants in bilingualism push    

The governments of Spain and the United States have agreed to recruit more English and Spanish-language assistants from each other’s countries as a means of bolstering bilingual education in the two nations.

us spain language assistants
Spain’s Education Minister Pilar Alegría and US ambassador to Spain Julissa Reynoso. Photo: Spanish Government

Spain’s Education Minister Pilar Alegría and US ambassador to Spain Julissa Reynoso met on Wednesday to sign a memorandum of understanding which will reinforce educational cooperation between the two countries. 

The agreement had been previously signed by Miguel Cardona, the United States Secretary of Education, who tweeted: “This week, alongside [Spanish] Ambassador [Santiago] Cabañas, I signed a memorandum supporting the study of Spanish language & culture in the US, and the study of English in Spain”.

It is in fact a renewal of a memorandum between the United States and Spain which has facilitated mobility of both conversation assistants and students between the two countries in recent years.

The aim of this newest memorandum of understanding is to further strengthen student and teacher exchange programmes and promote bilingual and multicultural teaching in both educational systems.

No exact details have yet been given about how many extra language assistants will be given grants to join the programme. 

Several teacher recruitment sources suggest the current number of North American language assistants (including Canadians) heading to Spain every year is between 2,000 and 2,500. 

The Spanish government has stated that in 2023, this figure will be around 4,500, which represents a considerable increase in the number of US and Canadian citizens who can apply through the NALCAP programme, which stands for North American Language and Culture Assistants in Spain. 

According to Spain’s Foreign Ministry, the following requirements must be met by US candidates in order to participate in the programme:

  • Be a U.S. citizen and have a valid passport
  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree or be currently enrolled as a sophomore, junior or a senior in a bachelor’s programme. Applicants may also have an associate degree or be a community college student in their last semester.
  • Have a native-like level of English
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Have a clean background check
  • Be aged 18 – 60.
  • Have at least basic knowledge of Spanish (recommended)

NALCAP recipients receive a monthly stipend of €700 to €1,000 as well as Spanish medical insurance.

Application dates for 2023 are usually announced in late November. See more information on the NALPAC programme for US nationals here

According to The Fulbright Program, one of several US cultural exchange programmes that organises the recruitment of US nationals for Spain: “English Teaching Assistants assist teaching staff at the early childhood, elementary, middle school, high school, vocational and/or university level for up to 16 hours per week, with an additional two hours for planning & coordination meetings. Responsibilities include assistant-teaching, in English, subjects such as social studies, science and technology, art, physical education, and English language.”

READ MORE: The pros and cons of being an English language assistant in Spain

There are also currently more than 1,000 Spanish teachers working as visiting teachers in the United States, Spain’s Moncloa government has said, without adding yet how many more will be recruited in 2023.

Additionally, more than 1,000 North American students now take part in the Spanish Language and Culture Groups managed by the Spanish Education Ministry’s Overseas Education Action (or Acción Educativa Exterior, AEE).  

Canadian applicants can find out more about working as language assistants in Spain by visiting the NALCAP Canada website.

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LABOUR RIGHTS

Spain fines food delivery firm Glovo for not giving riders contracts

Spain has fined food delivery firm Glovo nearly €79 million and forced it to give labour contracts to over 10,000 riders in the country, the government said Wednesday.

Spain fines food delivery firm Glovo for not giving riders contracts

Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz said Glovo had violated a 2021 law requiring riders for food delivery platforms be employees signed to formal labour contracts, not freelancers.

“The full weight of the law will fall on the company,” Díaz told reporters as she announced the sanctions against Glovo.

She accused Glovo of “violating fundamental workers’ rights” and “obstructing the work of labour inspectors”.

“As a result we have taken action against this company by granting official status to over 10,600 workers” and slapped it with a “very high fine of nearly €79 million”, Díaz added.

Glovo said in a statement it would appeal against the government’s “unilateral” decision.

Under the so-called “Rider Law” that came into effect in August 2021, couriers who deliver food, mostly on bicycles and motorcycles, must be recognised as employees instead of being considered self-employed freelancers as before.

It is the first European legislation that explicitly regulates the status of delivery workers, who get around on bikes and motorcycles and whose numbers have exploded in recent years, despite precarious working conditions.

This means app-based food delivery firms have to pay employee contributions for benefits like sick leave and protections against dismissal.

Shortly after the law came into effect, London-based food delivery firm Deliveroo announced it was pulling out of Spain.

The European Commission in December introduced a proposal on platform work, which would bring in EU-wide criteria to determine whether a gig worker should be considered an employee.

The proposal still must be approved by EU member states and the European parliament.

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