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Protests over Citizenship Course in English

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For the past few weeks, there have been a lot of protests in Valencia. We already posted about the student protests of the Bolonia Process, but there have also been a lot of people in the streets fighting something called “Ciudadanía en Inglés“. These protests have been getting national attention, so I finally decided to figure out what the hell the whole deal was.


Source: 20minutos.es

I hope to keep my facts straight, but there isn’t much information in English on this. Please correct any misunderstanding I might have, in the comments section!

The Spanish government has mandated a school course called “Education for Citizenship”, which teaches students about Spain’s constitution and how to be a good citizen. Because the constitution includes “controversial” topics like the legality of gay marriage, and the right to abortion, the Roman Catholic Church is having another of its conniption fits. How dare schools teach students such awful things! It’s… it’s… it’s… IMMORAL!!! The facts that gay people have the right to marry in Spain, and that women have the right to choose, well those must not even be mentioned. Let’s just pretend it’s not the case.

Valencia’s conservative, PP-led government is unsurprisingly siding with the Catholic church in this argument. They’re unable to overrule the national government and remove the new coursework, so, in a petulant attempt to throw a wrench into things, have instituted a rule that the Citizenship classes may only be taught in English. I mean: ridiculous. It’s a class about Spanish citizenship being taught in every Spanish school by Spanish teachers to Spanish kids.

So, that’s what the massive protests of the past weeks have been about. And, the protesters have won a satisfying victory… earlier this week, the Valencian government withdrew their absurd regulation.

Like I said, I’m not an expert on this issue, so if you’d like to read more, there’s some information at Freethinker, and here’s an short radio segment about it from the BBC.

December 18, 2008 at 1:03 pm
2 comments »
  • December 18, 2008 at 7:25 pmenric

    I don’t have anything to correct you about the information, from my point of view it’s a good summary of the issue.

  • December 19, 2008 at 4:55 pmVicent

    Actually it’s taught by Philosophy professors in Spanish and then simultaneously translated to English by another professor. It’s like something out of a movie by the Marx bros.

    Students started protesting against this and suddenly they were joined by other movements against the “education” conselleria. Lack of funding, not enough professors, highschools made of pre-fabricated containers… You get the picture.

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