It was undoubtedly the thorniest point of the Catalan Socialist (PSC) leadership's proposal for an updated party roadmap in the context of the party's 14th triennial conference: the plan by Pedro Sánchez's partners in Catalonia to alter the linguistic model in Catalan schools towards a more variable paradigm was the section of the proposal that received most amendments from party delegates - more than 20. The matter was finally settled this Saturday morning, in a committee debate. The original text has now been expanded to include the defence of Catalan as the vehicular language and Catalan language immersion - key concepts of the present model which had not been included in the new PSC proposal - as well as calling for a plurilingual model at the level of the Spanish state, although it still envisages the adaptation of the language plan in according to the sociolinguistic reality of each school in Catalonia.
The final text will be put to a vote this Saturday evening, but the committee debate made it possible for a unified proposal to be formulated that didn't receive a single vote of opposition. This was stated by Socialist sources present at the meeting, who explained the contents of the agreement, in which the PSC advocates a "renewal of the language pact" to repair the "broken consensus". The party's idea is that the current model in Catalan school needs to be updated and modernized, and it should be flexible if necessary, always based on the pedagogical criteria that the teaching professionals must set. The aim, they say, is for students to finish secondary school with adequate knowledge of three languages: Catalan, Spanish and English.
This, they explain, means that if the school board at a given educational centre thinks it appropriate, the school may expand the hours of Spanish content, to improve students' knowledge in cases where they have an exclusively Catalan-speaking environment.
Another aspect of the original proposal that had led to controversy among the rank and file of the PSC was a reference to the breakdown of social harmony in the area of language. The paragraph in question put the focus on blaming the Catalan independence movement for using Catalan in a "partisan" way. The definitive wording, as requested by many amendments, also makes "Spanish nationalism" responsible for this alleged problem. The Socialists again insist on a "third way" in linguistic terms, intermediate between those who call for a Catalan-based "monolingual model" and those who deny that Spain is "plurilingual".
Among the changes to the proposal to prepare for Saturday evening's vote is a decision to urge the Spanish state to recognize plurilingualism throughout Spain in language laws.