Education in Majorca

Dear Sir,
It is very sad that the educational establishment seems to be incapable of bringing together teachers, parents and children, and that this has created a lethargy surrounding one of the most important objectives of all: to educate the next generation.

I am also sorry to hear Andrew Ede’s assertion that educational problems do not attract a great deal of public attention. They should be foremost in the thoughts of everyone especially all parents.

If it is true that the Majorcan children repeatedly score low attainment in core skills and subjects in the present public education system, why are the parents not creating more protest? How can education be such a dry subject that people’s minds remain in neutral?

With regard to alternative languages, smaller children find it difficult being taught for more than a limited time each day, and having to learn and do lessons in a language which is not their mother tongue requires additional effort on their part.

Gaelic is not forced on Scottish children of any age. This means that they can concentrate their efforts on maths, science and a foreign language if they choose to do so. It follows that in a private or public Majorcan school, children should have all their lessons in Castilian as all the Iberian population speak it. To insist on them struggling to master a second language such as Catalan or Mallorquin for all lessons would be ridiculous.

With a few exceptions, the Iberian Peninsula benefits from the tourist industry, the majority of whom speak some form of English. It might be sensible if this became the optional language offered to all those who wish to work in the tourist industry, but it should not be forced on them.

On another matter, I strongly believe that English should only be taught by genuinely bilingual teachers. There are many English teachers who might love to live here for a few years. Some time ago there was a good deal of protest from Majorcan teachers when they were threatened with obligatory English lessons, and I quite agreed with them when they refused to implement the policy.

If the Balearic minister of education is so concerned, could someone persuade Marti March to read this letter so that common sense prevails?

Shiela Peczenik

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Simon Tow / Hace over 5 years

And your point, is ?

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Viv / Hace over 5 years

The younger the child the more easily they pick up other languages. I speak from experience with my own children and grandchildren. As for them having all their lessons in Castilian just because all the Iberian population speak it (they don’t because Portugal is also ‘Iberia’!) – are you a relation of Sr Wert?! Do you know anything at all about Spain’s regional languages and their history? Many children here have Mallorquin as their mother tongue. The most sensible approach is for different subjects to be taught in different languages as early as possible: some in the regional language, some in Castilian and some in English (and English is not only useful for tourism!). This would have no effect whatsoever on their overall levels (those are the result of other issues) but would result in trilingual children well before the age of 11 which is the age most British children only even begin to be taught a second language (and look at the results!).

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