Spanish Ministry of Education to investigate textbooks used in Catalonia
The Spanish Ministry for Education has requested a “detailed report” on the content of the textbooks used in Catalonia. The petition, processed as a matter of urgency, aims to analyze whether there is “partisan indoctrination” in the Social Studies textbooks used in the 5th and 6th grades of primary school, said the association who complained about it, “Action for the Secondary Education Improvement” (AMES). AMES compared textbooks from seven different publishers used in Catalan schools and concluded that the books emphasize the differences between Catalan and Spanish citizens and minimize their common points. The Secretary of Education Policies in the Catalan Government, Antoni Llobet, expressed the “government's bewilderment” of his government amid this unprecedented initiative. Publishers defended their professionalism and described the attacks as “biased and false”.
The authors of the report argue that history is presented as a constant dispute between Catalonia and Spain in which Spain has always “restricted” Catalonia’s rights and freedom. AMES believe that such premises generate “different feelings” among Catalan students in comparison with students who study in the rest of Spain and use other textbooks. The report also warns that the lack of references to shared institutions, such as the monarchy, the Constitution, or the Spanish Government may lead to Catalan students not acquiring a “Spanish identity” and therefore they “don’t feel Spanish, but Catalan instead”.
According to this group, the Spanish Ministry for Education doesn’t have enough mechanisms to make sure that “only what is established in the Constitution is being taught” in schools and warns that it is precisely this lack of control which leads to the increase in “some Autonomous Communities” of pro-independence aspirations. The Spanish Ministry expects to have the result of the report in a few days.
The decision prompted a furious reaction from publishers in Catalonia. “Our work is rigorous and scientific,” said the President of the Book Commission of the Association of Catalan Publishers, Antoni Garrido. “Publishers do not take political positions,” he added, pointing out that they follow the curriculum stated by law both by the autonomous communities and the Spanish central government. He said accusing the publishers of brainwashing Catalan kids is “false and biased” and warned that some groups want to “criminalize” a sector that is “completely apolitical”.
The Catalan Government's Secretary of Education Policies, Antoni Llobet, criticized the “attack” on the “professionalism” of Catalan teachers as well as the “lack of respect towards the accuracy of the publishing industry”. He added that asking for such a report also shows a lack of understanding in how the education system works. “For many years favorable reports authorizing the publication of textbooks has not been needed, since the professionalism of those responsible of doing them is undeniable,” he pointed out. Besides, teachers are free to choose whatever books they want for their classes.