Esther Armora Updated: 12/17/2019 07: 35h
• There is an increase in the complaints of teachers for “abuse of power” of the management teams
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One day, in any Catalan school. Classroom of the second year of Primary Education. There are few minutes left to start the Spanish language class and the inspector Jesús Rul discreetly enters the space. He takes a seat in the last row and gets ready to observe how the session takes place. There is apparently normality, only apparent, because from the zero minute of the session an anomaly is evidenced: the teacher teaches the subject of Spanish language in Catalan, the only one that allows linguistic immersion to be given in Spanish.
“I teach Castilian in Catalan”, the teacher replies to Rul when he warns him of the possible consequences of his bad practice. A disciplinary action was opened against the offender, as a result of which he was transferred to another center. The reason for his sanction was not, however, the negative report that was made for “catalanizing” the Castilian class but, “more than likely,” for the allegations that some families sent to the inspection for a conflict with students, says the inspector. This is just one of the many “irregular situations” that Jesús Rul has seen, he says, in his more than three decades of observation of Catalan classrooms as a member of the squad of educational inspectors of Catalonia, from which he departed in 2015 when he retired but with whom he remains in constant contact through the Projecte Inspectio, an association that he promoted in 2006 and that brings together the professionals of the squad who defend the exercise of their profession independently.
Making “starred flags” in class
«In Catalan education there are situations that constitute a serious and very serious offense that remain unpunished, such as a teacher interrupting the running of a class to take students to the street to shout” independence!”, having them make a “starred flag”, telling students that it is the flag of a free nation, or that students are induced to nationalist strikes. These cases and many others clearly fracture the mandatory neutrality and impartiality of the educational institution» says Rul.
Much of the “anomalies” detected in the education system are detailed in his book “Catalan nationalism and school indoctrination” (Editorial Amarante, 2019), presented at the end of October and in which he reveals, with real experiences, the strategy that, since the beginning of the 1990s, nationalism has forged to “gradually take over the ideological control of education using language as a weapon of national construction”.
Control by the directors
In an interview with ABC, this veteran inspector, who started his professional career in 1983, a year after the linguistic immersion in Santa Coloma de Gramanet (Barcelona) was conceived, explains how in these last decades the nationalist governments have been fulfilling “scrupulously” the objectives outlined in the 2000 Program written in the early 1990s with Jordi Pujol as head of the Generalitat. At the educational level, it summarizes them in two targets: «Forming the Catalan personality of teachers and students, and controlling the management teams and the inspectors’ squad».
Marginalization of Castilian
In his first years of exercise, Rul enjoyed, as he says, the trust of the Catalan Education Department. Between 1986 and 1990 he was released even from his inspection duties to devote himself to the training of school directors. He also coordinated on behalf of the Administration the collection of books on educational management.
This inspector of Valencian origin attests that, since the late 90s, the Castilian, co-official language of Catalonia and official of the State, “has been cornered in the classroom with a political intentionality” until being in a “situation of absolute marginality».
«Compulsory linguistic immersion only for Spanish-speaking students is discriminatory and harmful to student success. It is a political domination outside the constitutional order. Offensive against the dignity, equity and rights of students. It is only defensible from the totalitarianism imposed by nationalism: it is not a factor of social cohesion, nor is it a model of success as they proclaim crushingly”, he says forcefully.
In his 32 years of service, he says he has also seen how the main educational actors (teachers and management teams) “have gradually closed ranks around the nationalist, first doctrinal and then secessionist project”. How have they executed the ideological control of the classrooms? He is clear about it: «Indoctrinating students through the Geography and History manuals, in which they have deliberately misrepresented the history of the nation» and «discrediting Spanish, snatching with factual instruments and prudish sentences its official language status of Spain and co-official in Catalonia».
«Controlling 20% of the population»
“What matters to them is not educational success but to have under ideological control between 15% and 20% of the Catalan population”, he says. «Students are induced to an anodyne and pejorative vision of Spain and that the language that matters is Catalan. And that is very serious”, denounces the inspector. He regrets that this situation has occurred “with the complicity of the squad of educational inspectors”, which, far from acting in accordance with the constitutional legal system, have become another part of the nationalist process by action or omission.
Temporary staff renewed by the Government
«The Catalan educational inspection is at the antipodes of where it should be. Its mission has been biased by ideological commitment”, says the inspector. In his view, this lack of “independence” of the squad responds to a “structural” factor: the fact that for years (in which no public contest has been called) the only way to access an inspector position has been a contest of merits renewable every year by the Government.
«A high percentage of the inspectors currently in office in Catalonia nationalists or remain silent just in case and for fear of not being renewed in office. They are political commissioners, the antithesis of what they should be”, he says. “Some of them”, he adds, “even appear in the schools with a yellow bow on their flap; others boast of being part of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) independence association». In addition to symbols, Rul also denounces obstacles in the exercise of his profession.
«Many inquiries made by the inspection to denounce objectively serious causes have not had an administrative path and have ended up in simple admonitions. Others have been directly archived”, denounces the inspector, who recalls a particularly notable case: “I had written a report for a linguistic issue and they pressured me to modify it. I have also seen how the administration made decisions before having the mandatory inspection reports, reducing them to a bureaucratic archiving function. We all know that they are not binding but, at least, they should be read and taken into account».
Jesús Rul also denounces the inaction of all state governments in this situation. “No government has fought against school indoctrination, nor has put a stop to discrimination against Castilian in the classroom”, he says. He remembers in this regard, that the laws governing the education system are very precise in relation to preserving personal integrity, political impartiality and ideological neutrality in educational relationships.
This retired inspector does not believe that, in view of the political scenario that is glimpsed after the elections, the situation will change. “The draft Celaá law gives full powers to communities, without nuances”, he recalls. “The Government has abdicated for years from guaranteeing the unity of the Spanish education system and to control the excesses of education in Catalonia”, he concludes.
«They already control the state squad. Why create their own?”
E. A. BARCELONA
One of the objectives outlined by the counselor Josep Bargalló when taking control of Catalan education was to create his own squad of educational inspectors. Jesús Rul, who has been an inspector for more than three decades, doubts that this project will end up materializing. «The Generalitat already controls the state squad. It would be much more expensive to support their own”, says Rul. According to him, the Government is outlining a new decree for inspection although “in the current wording does not raise substantial changes”.
The supervision of the Catalan education system is carried out by a state inspectors squad (243 professionals), although the vast majority of its members (80 percent for years and 65 percent now) have not accessed the position via public contest, but instead they find themselves in a situation of “service commission”, that is, they are temporary staff to whom the Generalitat renews annually in office. The association of inspectors Projecte Inspectio took this situation to court and, finally, a ruling from the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) declared in 2015 that this formula for accessing educational inspection “is a law fraud”. Apart from this squad, there is the High Inspection in Catalonia, although its presence is residual and its capacity for action limited. Now, after many years, 110 inspector positions have been convened. According to Rul, “this will not change anything because the Generalitat will finally decide who occupies them”.