Schools will decide on their "linguistic model". | Archive

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Antoni Costa, parliamentary spokesperson for the opposition Partido Popular, accused President Armengol on Monday of having given in to "her most radical partners" in agreeing to a last-minute amendment to the text of the new Balearics education law.

The vote on the bill is due on Tuesday, the PP pointing to a change regarding the "vehicularity" of Castellano (Spanish).

What this means, in terms of the legislation, is that both Castellano and Catalan are eliminated from articles that refer to the languages of instruction (the two co-official languages). Instead, schools will decide on the linguistic model to enable students to acquire skills in both languages. At the same time, however, the law will protect the "decree of minimums" for Catalan. This established that half a school's teaching hours should be in Catalan.

The government had agreed with the PP to retain specific reference to the two languages of instruction. But because Castellano was still to be defined as a language of instruction ("vehicular language"), tensions had arisen between PSOE, who control the education ministry, and Més in Mallorca and in Minorca.

Costa said on Tuesday that Armengol and PSOE had turned their backs on "moderation and common sense" and had ignored "what the vast majority of Balearic families think".

He referred to court rulings and specifically one of the Supreme Court which established a minimum of 25 per cent of teaching hours in Spanish in Catalonia. Costa added that it was the PP who first approved the decree of minimums. This was at a time when Catalan "was quite unbalanced compared to Spanish". The PP, he stressed, are not opposed to a minimum of Catalan. This doesn't bother them "at all". "But what we ask for is that there is a minimum of Spanish."