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For a public, inclusive and Euskaldun education: Restart the Education Act

26 October 2023 - 08:45

After the time since the publication of the Education Act for the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country, and entering the processing phase, we would like to share some reflections on the law. We are professors of the Schools of Education of the University of the Basque Country/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU), so what the law will regulate will directly affect us and our students.

The debate that has been going on for months has clearly shown us that the law has not achieved consensus, either in the educational community or in society in general. On the contrary, it has aroused deep criticism and discrepancies, and no action has been taken to address these discrepancies and to draft a better law. Now we want to look at the two needs that education has, because we believe they are key and inexpugnable, and because this law does not give them the right answer: strengthen the public school and deepen the Basque.

As is well known, there is a dual educational system in which concerted schools have a very bloated weight. For years, policies contrary to the recommendations of all international organizations working for the right to education have been implemented. For example, there is what the Abidjan principles say, namely that public funding of private educational institutions should be an interim measure during the exercise of the functions to be performed by the public school. This is not the case with CAPV. Almost 50% of students are enrolled in private schools and this anomaly has been perpetuating and naturalizing for decades. We are well aware that this anomaly has its origin, at least in part, in the inability to access public education in Basque decades ago. The work carried out by the Ikastolas movement in the Basque Country is certainly commendable, but today we are not in the 1970s or 1980s and we can no longer think of the frameworks then. On the other hand, and above all, the Catholic tradition of teaching also explains this anomaly, because most concerted schools are still religious. In our view, the secularity of education should be an indispensable condition for providing public money to any school.

In bilingual societies, if the vehicular language of the educational system is not a minority, this society is condemned to diglosy. Therefore, we consider it essential to invest in a school focused on the Basque country

According to the studies, like those by Javier Murillo, the dual system mentioned above has generated a segregation by origin and class. Consequently, we have an absolutely unbalanced system: the public school receives many more pupils living in a vulnerable situation, which prevents ensuring inclusive education. It is time to eliminate this imbalance in favour of concerted schools and make public schools the fundamental pillar of the system for guaranteeing the right to education.

Secondly, but not least, it is the subject of Euskaldunisation. There, too, the law is completely fuzzy, and the latest news indicates that it is intended to maintain the linguistic models that were proposed 40 years ago. We have to say the same thing again, that we are not at present in the decades of 1970-1980, and that in order to meet the challenges of the future we must take firm new measures. All the evidence tells us that to Euskaldunize the young people of Euskal Herria it is essential to have a strong Euskaldun school in which the Basque language is the vehicle language. This will not guarantee the Euskaldunisation of society, but it is an essential element. Sociolinguists (based on Fred Gennesse's research) have long had the basic idea that in bilingual societies, if the lingua vehicular of the educational system is not a minority, that society is condemned to diglosis. For this reason, we consider it essential to invest in a school focused on Euskera that goes beyond the linguistic models that have existed so far and generates a new model typical of the context of the twenty-first century.

We are convinced that the majority of society and the educational community agree on both points. In order to have a more prosperous and egalitarian future, we need to promote a Basque and inclusive public school, and that is why we want to make a sincere and urgent appeal to all parliamentary parties and to the whole of Basque society to restart the process and draft a new law.

*37 UPV/EHU teachers sign:

John Abasolo

Elena Agirre Basurko

Uzuri Albizu Mallea

Iratxe Antonio Agirre

Txabi Arnal Gil

Nerea Arruti

Alexander Artzelus Muxika

Maitane Basasoro Ziganda

Mari Mar Snacks

Berta Echeberria

Ibon Egaña

Ainhoa Ezeiza Ramos

Karla Fernández de Gamboa Vázquez

Oihane Fernandez-Lasarte

Rakel Gamito

Mikel Gartziarena

Alex Gurrutxaga

Ane Izagirre

See Koro Jauregi Elizondo

LarraceIrati Leon Hernández Programme

Mar Madariaga

Jon Martin

Judit Martínez Abajo

Igone Palacios Agundez

Alfredo Pérez de Sosoaga

Stytxu Ramos Díaz

Arantza Rico

Javier Ruiz de Arcaute Graciano

Aitor Xabier Ruiz de Luzuriaga Urtiaga

Eider Sainz de la Maza

Egoitz Salsamendi Pagola

Beñat Sarasola

Amaia Serrano

Alaitz Tresserras Angulo

Jon Urraza Intxausti

Daniel Zuazagoitia Rey Baltar

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