EDUCATION

School principals “in no rush” to heed court call to teach Spanish

Ruling came after families took action over schools' insistence on teaching classes in Catalan

Five schools in Catalonia that have been told by a court to teach at least 25 percent of their coursework in the Spanish language are "in no rush" to heed the ruling.

The decision affects eight students whose families went to court over the schools' refusal to teach them in anything other than Catalan in the majority of their classes.

But the Catalan government, run by the nationalists of CiU, will appeal the decision, and government spokesman Francesc Homs said on Tuesday that the executive will not be changing "a single comma" from their education model despite the court ruling.

The schools – one public center and four "concertados," which are privately run but receive public funding – have a month to make the necessary changes to their classrooms, according to the decision by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC).

"We have a month, so we're in no rush to implement anything," said one school representative after meeting with the Catalan education commissioner, Irene Rigau, who on Friday accused the high court of "overstepping" its powers.

The decision is the latest step in a legal wrangle that began in 2006. Since then, the Supreme Court of Spain and the Constitutional Court both ruled that the Catalan government has the obligation to offer at least 25 percent of coursework in Castilian Spanish at public and publicly funded schools.

But Barcelona has so far ignored that decision, which has just been confirmed by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia.

The new ruling makes school principals responsible for implementing the measures, and sets out fines and even one-year removals from their posts if they fail to do so.

Despite this, Pere Salvador, principal of the public high school Alba del Vallès in Sant Fost de Campsentelles, acted unconcerned about the legal decision. "I am not too worried, either about the fines or the disqualification," he told the television station TV-3.