Welcome to Linguis Europae, the EUC's language blog!

Linguis Europae is dedicated to a range of topics involving official state, regional, and minority languages in the EU. Posts are written in five languages by UI students and faculty! Check back regularly for updates!

Bridging the Gap: Language and Community in Action in East Central Illinois

Skye Mclean discusses the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center (ECRIMAC), which provides services essential to refugee and immigrant resettlement in East-Central Illinois and aids in the exchange and preservation of their respective cultures.

Place and Space: Another Perspective on Crimea

Senior Andrey Starosin offers his perspective on the current events taking place in Crimea.

French Professor Revamps Course on "Language and Minorities in Europe"

Linguis Europae's own Zsuzsanna Fagyal and her course "Languages and Minorities in Europe" were featured in a recent issue of the School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics.

Un'Ode al "Dialàtt Bulgnaiś": An Ode to the Bolgnese Dialect

Kaitlyn Russell muses on her fondness for the Italian dialect, Bolognese.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Educazione basca: dalla clandestinità alla fama

by Eider Etxebarria Zuluaga

Eider Etxebarria Zuluaga is a graduate student in Spanish Linguistics at the University of Illinois. Eider is planning on finishing her Master’s degree and continuing with a Ph.D. in the same field. She is planning on teaching Basque and Spanish in the future. She wrote this text as a student in 418 ‘Language and Minorities in Europe’.

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1896 è stato un’anno memorabile per la storia della riabilitazione della lingua basca. Fu in questo anno che Kolejio-Ikastechea adottò integralmente l’euskera, the Basque language, come lingua d’insegnamento; fu la prima scuola e venne fondata da Resurrección María de Azkue (1864-1951) in Bilbao. Sfortunatamente chiuse dopo quattro anni per la mancanza di studenti. All’inizio del XX secolo si svilupparono scuole di indole più comunitaria nelle regionivasco-parlanti: auzo-eskolak (scuole di vicinato). La Seconda Republica Spagnola (1931-1939) permise, fino ad un certo punto, l’insegnamento in euskera. La mia proziaci ripeteva che lei aveva studiato in euskera. La era repubblicana proclamò la libertà religiosa (“Spagna non ha una religione officiale”, articolo3 della Costituzione del 1931), instituzionalizando così il laicismo nelle scuole. Tuttavia con la intrusione della dittatura franchista, si dà inizio a quaranta anni di persecuzione e terrore, e tutto quello che era relazionato con l’euskera, la cultura basca o l’identità basca fu condannatose veramente. Las bascofilia (euskofilia) fu inclementemente calpestata. L’emblema del Regime Franchista era “España, una, grande y libre” (Spagna, una, grande e libera) e naturalmente, il castellano venne considerato come l’unica lingua dello Stato Spagnolo. Il castellano si instillò attraverso i mezzi istituzionali come l’amministrazione, i media e l’educazione. Per lo tanto, la scuola diventò un mezzo di indottrinamento al servizio della nazione.

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Ikastolak, nacque durante gli anni 60 (1959-1969), e costituì l’avanguardia del sistema educativo basco. Queste scuole furono create per combattere l’imminente estinzione del euskera, e per conferire a questa lingua uno status, previamente non riconosciuto, e un prestigio, come lingua di cultura, amministrazione e convivenza. A quell’epoca della sua creazione, ikastolak simboleggiavana una strategia socialmente supportata e necessaria, adottata dai baschi dei Paesi Baschi, per combattere l’oppressione di Spagna e Francia. Come López-Goñi (2003: 622) spiega, durante la dittatura le ikastolak dovevano essere gestite “in un modo semiclandestino”, e sotto la minaccia permanente delle punizioni del governo. Queste scuole clandestine erano conosciute come casas-escuela (case-scuole) perché le lezioni erano impartite in una casa, dove normalmente l’insegnante era il proprietario della casa. Le case-scuole furono economicamente mantenute dai genitori degli studenti. Fu sotto queste circostanze furtive che le ikastolak deciso stabilirsi come una opzione alternativa per ricevere l’educazione in basco. Fu durante questo periodo che in Euskal Herria iniziò a crescereuna coscienza collettiva: assemblee sociali, gruppi di danza e canto, gruppi per l’insegnamento in basco, gruppi di montagna, etc.

Dopo lo Statuto di Autonomia (Autonomia Estatutua) del 1979, meglio conosciuto come lo Statuto di Guernica (Gernikako Estatutua), le ikastolak furono legittimamente rese ufficiali. Per allora Spagna e Francia avevano già sistemi di Educazione Nazionale consolidati. Ciascuno di questi paesi affermavano che i loro sistemi erano sviluppati secondo un sistema di parità, uniformità e centralità per la sua rispettiva nazione. In questa maniera, il governo aveva il potere assoluto e controllava tutte le risorse: come sono le persone, i soldi, l’informazione e la tecnologia. Le Ikastolak, diversamente, vennero create come secondo una criterio decentralizzato. L’autorità passò in mano al Governo Basco (Euskal Gobernua), che, incanalò gli atti attraverso il Ministerio di Educazione e fino ad arrivare ad ogni scuola. Pertanto, anche se il centro del potere rimaneva nel governo di Spagna, il governo basco poteva decidere sul contenuto del suo curriculum, controllare il budget, ed era responsabile del corpo docente, degli edifici e delle sue attrezzature, misure disciplinari, etc. Nel caso basco, come nel bretone, corsico o catalano, la creazione di proprisistemi educativi, attivò e garantì la continuità, lo sviloppo e il benessere delle diverse lingue. Istituzionalizzare l’educazione basca, non solo ebbe un ruolo chiave nella prosperità del euskera, garantì, anche, la sua sopravvivenza.

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Durante gli anni novanta ci fu un dietrofront nel sistema educativo basco, e una presunta crisi delle ikastolak. Nel 19 febbraio di 1993 si approvò la “Ley de la Escuela Pública Vasca” (Legge della Scuola Pubblica Basca). Le ikastolak avevano tre mesi per decidere se volevano diventare una istituto pubblico o rimanere semi-privato. Il 55% delle ikastolak (63 di 114 scuole) rimasero come ikastolak, mentre il 37% (42 scuole) decisero diventare un istituto pubblico. L’ 8% restante (11 scuole) si categorizzano come no determinato. Riguardo agli studenti, si stima che 35.991 (il 64%) restò alle ikastolak, mentre altri 14.020 studenti (il 25%) si confidarono del sistema scolare pubblico. Alcune delle giustificazioni che diedero per l’incorporazione alla rete pubblica furono: la concezione la sua funzione storica o che i suoi problemi economici fossero stati compiuti. E fu così come Euskal Eskola Publikoa (la Scuola Pubblica Basca) cominciò a dare i suoi primi passi davanti.

Le Ikastolak, sono scuole basche semi-private che ricevono finanziamento dal governo oltre al finanziamento delle fonti private come imprese e associazioni religiose. Euskal Eskola Publikoa, al contrario, è un sistema educativo basco pubblico finanziato e amministrato dal il Governo Basco. È probabile che continui ad esistere tra le due scuole una perenne rivalità: i sostenitori del sistema pubblico sostengono che una buona educazione dovrebbe essere garantita dal governo, e che dovrebbe essere, allo stesso tempo, accessibile e pagabile. D’altra parte, i sostenitori del sistema semi-privato sostengono che i soldi garantiscono una migliore educazione. Per me, uno dei problemi che ha danneggiato e ritardato un cambio nel sistema educativo dei Paesi Baschi è stata la tendenza a politicarlo. Di norma, la gente di sinistra si è fidata della scuola publica, la gente di centro ha preferito la scuola semi-privata e la gente di destra le istituzioni private. In qualsiasi modo, generalizare è cadere in un sbaglio terribile. Quello che è innegabile è il lavoro instancabile fatto dal sistema edicativo basco nei Paesi Baschi, per i baschi. La educazione basca ha rappresentatola forza trainante per l’acquisizione del euskera in una nuova generazione che non avrebbe mai acquisito l’euskera in casa, come la mia generazione.

References:

López-Goñi, I. (2003). Ikastola in the twentieth century: an alternative for schooling in the Basque Country. History of Education,32(6), 661-676.

Euskal Herriko Ikastolak. Euskaltzaindia. (2003). El movimiento de las ikastolas. Un pueblo en marcha. El modelo ikastola 1960-2010. Jagon Saila, 1-353.
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Euskal hezkuntza: klandestinotasunetik ospera

by Eider Etxebarria Zuluaga

Eider Etxebarria Zuluaga is a graduate student in Spanish Linguistics at the University of Illinois. Eider is planning on finishing her Master’s degree and continuing with a Ph.D. in the same field. She is planning on teaching Basque and Spanish in the future. She wrote this text as a student in 418 ‘Language and Minorities in Europe’.

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1896.ean Resurrección María de Azkuek (1864-1951) Kolejio-Ikastechea sortu zuen, osoki euskaraz irakatsi zuen lehenengo eskola. Tristeziaz baina, lau urte geroago itxi behar izan zuen ikasle gutxi zituelako. XX. mende hasieran auzo-eskolak, izaera komunitariodun eskolak, sortu ziren eskualde euskaldunetan. Bigarren Errepublika Espainiarrak (1931-1939), puntu batera arte baina, euskaraz irakastea baimendu zuen. Nire izeba txikiak sarri kontatu izan du berak euskaraz ikasi zuela eskolan. Errepublikak askatasun erlijiosoa aldarrikatu zuen (“Espainiak ez dauka erlijio ofizialik” 1931ko Konstituzioko 3. artikulua) eta honela eskola laikoa ezarri zen. Francoren diktadurak, hala ere, berrogei urteko jazarpen eta izu etengabeari eman zion hasiera eta frankismoak euskararekin, euskal kulturarekin edo euskal nortasunarekin zer ikusirik zuen guzti hori gupidagabe kondenatu zuen. Euskalfilia gogor zapaldu zen. Francoren erregimenaren enblema “España, una, grande y libre” (Espainia, bat, handi eta librea”) zen eta espainiar estatuaren hizkuntza bakarra gaztelera, noski. Administrazio, komunikabide eta hezkuntza bezalako tresna instituzionalen bitartez, gaztelera inposatu zen. Honenbestez, eskola doktrinamendu mekanismo baten bihurtuta geratu zen nazioaren zerbitzura.

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Ikastolak, 60ko hamarkadan (1959-1969) sortuak, euskal hezkuntza sistemaren abangoardia dira. Funtsean, euskararen berealako desagerpena ekiditeko; ordura arte euskarak ezagutu ez zuen estatus bat emateko; eta kultura, administrazio eta bizikidetza hizkuntza bezala erabiltzeko izen on bat eraikitzeko sortu ziren. Sortze momentu hartan ikastolak, Espainia eta Frantziaren zapalkuntzari aurre egiteko, euskaldunek babestutako beharrezko estrategia bat izan ziren. López-Goñik (2003: 662) dioen lez, diktadura garaian “klandestinoki” moldatu behar izan zuten eskolek, beti gobernuaren zigorren mehatxupean. Eskola klandestino hauek etxe-eskolak deitzen ziren etxe pribatuetan irakasten zelako. Normalean, irakasleak ziren etxeen jabeak. Etxe-eskolak ikasleen gurasoek ordaintzen zituzten. Isilpeko baldintza ezkutu hauetan ikastolak eskola euskaraz jasotzeko aukera alternatibo bezala eman ziren ezagutzera. Garai hartan Euskal Herrian kontzientzia kolektibodun prozesu indartsu bat erne zen asanbladekin, dantza taldeekin, koruekin, euskara irakasteko taldeekin, mendi taldeekin, etab.

Behin Autonomia Estatutua (1979), Gernikako Estatutua bezala ezagunagoa zena, onetsita ikastolak lege aurrean instituzionalizatu ziren. Momentu hartan, Espainiak eta Frantziak bazeuzkaten jada ondo finkaturiko hezkuntza sistema nazionalak. Herrialde bi hauen aburuz, euren hezkuntza sistemak berdintasuna, bateratasuna eta zentralizazioa garatzeko sistemak ziren. Honela bada, gobernuak erabateko kontrol eta boterea zeukan baliabide guztiengan: bai jendea, bai dirua, bai informazioa eta baita teknologia. Ikastolak horrenbestez, deszentralizazioa ahalbidetzeko neurri bezala hartu behar izan ziren. Boterea Eusko Jaurlaritzari pasatu zitzaion, eta honek Hezkuntza Sailaren bitartez hartzen zituen erabakiak eskoletaraino iritsaraziz. Hala, botereak gobernu espainiarraren menpe jarraitzen bazuen ere, orain Eusko Jaurlaritzak zuen eduki kurrikularren eta aurrekontuen kontrola, eta lanpostua, instalazioak eta diziplina neurriak hartzeko gai zen. Euskaldunen kasuan, bretoienean, korsoenean edo katalanenean bezalaxe, hezkuntza sistema bat sortu izanak euren hizkuntzen jarraipena, garapena eta ongizatea bermatu zituen. Euskal hezkuntza instituzionalizatu izana ez zen euskararen goraldirako bakarrik izan berebizikoa, baina garrantzitsuagoa dena oraindik, euskararen biziraupena ziurtatu zuen.

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90. hamarkada euskal hezkuntza sistemaren iraultza garaia izan zen, eta aldi berean, ikastolen krisia. 1993ko otsailaren 19an “Euskal Eskola Publikoaren Legea” (“Ley de la Escuela Publica Vasca”) onartu zen. Ikastolei hiru hilabete eman zitzaizkien bai publiko egin nahi zutela ebazteko edo ikastola bezala geratu nahi zutela aukeratzeko. Ikastolen %55ak (114tik 63 ikastola) ikastola bezala jarraitu zuen, %37a (42 ikastola) ordea, publiko bihurtu ziren. Gainontzeko %8a (11 ikastola) zehaztu gabe geratu ziren. Ikasleei dagokienez, 35.991 ikasle (64%a) ikastoletan geratu zen eta 14.020 ikasle (%25a) eskola publikora pasatu ziren.  Ikastola asko publiko bihurtu ziren. Aukera honen atzean hainbat arrazoi aurki ditzakegu, horien artean, historikoki euren egitekoa bete zutela usten zutela sinesten zutela edo arazo ekonomikoak zituztela. Modu honetan, Euskal Eskola Publikoa bere lehen pausuak ematen hasi zen.

Ikastolak euskal eskola erdi-pribatuak dira. Dirua gobernuaren eta enpresa edo asoziazio erlijiosoak bezalako iturri pribatuetatik jasotzen dute. Euskal Eskola Publikoa, ostera, gobernuak finantzatu eta administratutako euskal eskola publikoen sarea da. Jarrera bi hauen arteko lehia baliteke inoiz eztitu ezin izatea: sistema publikoaren aldekoen iritziz, kalitatezko hezkuntza gobernuak bermatu beharko luke, eta denentzako zabalik egon beharko luke eta ez litzateke garestia izan beharko. Bestalde, sistema erdi-pribatuarek aldekoek diotenez, diruak kalitate hobea bermatzen du. Nire ustez, hezkuntza iraultzaren atzean egon den lan guzti hau, dena politizatzeko joera honek kutsatu eta penatu du. Normalean, ezkertiarrek eskola publikoaren alde egin izan dute, zentralistek eskola erdi-pribatuen alde eta eskuindarrek eskola pribatuen alde. Hala ere, orokortzea hanka-sartze galanta izango litzateke. Ukaezina dena euskal hezkuntza sistemak gizartean eta gizartearentzat egindako lan nekaezina izan da. Euskal hezkuntza sistema euskararen jabetza-prozesuaren funtsezko eragilea izan da. Generazio berri honetako, nire generazioko, jende askok eskolagatik izan ez balitz, baliteke inoiz euskara ikasteko aukerarik izan ez izana.

References:

López-Goñi, I. (2003). Ikastola in the twentieth century: an alternative for schooling in the Basque Country. History of Education,32(6), 661-676.

Euskal Herriko Ikastolak. Euskaltzaindia. (2003). El movimiento de las ikastolas. Un pueblo en marcha. El modelo ikastola 1960-2010. Jagon Saila, 1-353.


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Educación vasca: desde la clandestinidad a la fama

by Eider Etxebarria Zuluaga

Eider Etxebarria Zuluaga is a graduate student in Spanish Linguistics at the University of Illinois. Eider is planning on finishing her Master’s degree and continuing with a Ph.D. in the same field. She is planning on teaching Basque and Spanish in the future. She wrote this text as a student in 418 ‘Language and Minorities in Europe’.

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1896 fue un año memorable para la historia de la revitalización vasca. Fue el año en el que Kolejio-Ikastechea, la primera escuela que enseñó íntegramente en euskera fue fundado por Resurrección María de Azkue (1864-1951) en Bilbao. Tristemente cerró cuatro años más tarde por falta de alumnos. A principios del siglo XX surgen las denominadas ikastolas de barrio (auzo-eskolak), escuelas de índole comunitaria, en regiones euskaldunes. La Segunda República Española (1931-1939) permitió, eso sí de manera limitada, que se enseñara en euskera. Mi tía-abuela solía contar que en tiempos de la República ella estudió en euskera en la escuela. La era republicana proclamó la libertad religiosa en el país (“España no tiene religión oficial” artículo3 de la Constitución de 1931), instaurando así un sistema escolar laico. Pero con la imposición de la dictadura del Caudillo se dio comienzo a cuarenta años de perseguimiento y terror. El franquismo condenó todo aquello que tuviera que ver con el euskera, la cultura vasca o la identidad vasca. La vascofilia se pisoteo inclementemente. El emblema del régimen franquista era “España, una, grande y libre” y el castellano la única lengua del Estado Español, por supuesto. El castellano se impuso mediante herramientas institucionales como la administración, los medios de comunicación y la educación. De esta forma, la escuela queda convertida en un mecanismo de adoctrinamiento al servicio de la nación.

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Las ikastolas, que emergen durante los años 60 (1959-1969), constituyen la vanguardia del sistema escolar vasco. Fueron principalmente creados para combatir la inminente extinción del euskera, y conferirlo con un estatus previamente inexistente y privilegio como lengua de cultura, administración y convivencia. En la época en la que se crearon, las ikastolas simbolizaban una estrategia respaldada y necesitada, adoptada por los vascos en Euskal Herria para combatir la opresión de España y Francia.  Como López-Goñi (2003: 662) bien explica, durante la dictadura tuvieron que ser gestionadas “de una manera semiclandestina” bajo la amenaza permanente de sanciones gubernamentales. Estas escuelas clandestinas eran comúnmente conocidas como casas-escuela (etxe-eskolak) porque las clases se impartían en hogares particulares, normalmente la profesora era la dueña de estas casas. Las casas-escuela estaban económicamente financiadas por los padres de los estudiantes. Fue bajo estas premisas furtivas de puertas para adentro donde las ikastolas se establecieron como una opción alternativa a recibir educación en euskera. Fue en aquel momento cuando Euskal Herria presenció un proceso de conciencia colectiva que brotaba poderosamente con asambleas sociales, grupos de danza, corales, grupos de enseñanza de euskera, grupos de montaña, etc.

Una vez aprobado el Estatuto de Autonomía (Autonomia Estatutua) en 1979, mejor conocido como el Estatuto de Guernica (Gernikako Estatutua), las ikastolas fueron legítimamente institucionalizadas. Para entonces España y Francia ya tenían sistemas de educación nacionales bien consolidados. Ambos países afirmaban que sus sistemas eran promotores de igualdad, uniformidad y centralidad para sus respectivas naciones. El gobierno tenía control y poder absoluto sobre todo tipo de recursos como son la gente, el dinero, la información y la tecnología. Las ikastolas, por su parte, tuvieron que ser creadas como medida de descentralización. La autoridad pasó a estar en manos del Gobierno Vasco (Eusko Jaurlaritza), que canalizaba sus acciones mediante el Ministerio de Educación (Hezkuntza Saila) hasta llegar al fin a las escuelas. De esta forma, aunque el foco de poder permanecía en el gobierno central de España, el Gobierno Vasco podía ahora decidir el contenido curricular, las instalaciones, las pólizas disciplinarias, etc. En el caso vasco, como en el bretón, el corso o el catalán, la creación de sus propios sistemas educativos posibilitó y garantizó la continuidad, el desarrollo y el bienestar de sus idiomas. La educación vasca institucionalizada no sólo tuvo un papel absolutamente relevante en el florecimiento del euskera, sino que lo que es más importante, aseguró su supervivencia.

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Los 90 dieron un vuelco para bien al sistema educativo vasco, pero al mismo tiempo, presenciaron la crisis de las ikastolas. El 19 de febrero de 1993 se aprobó la “Ley de la Escuela Pública Vasca”. Se les dieron tres meses a las ikastolas para decidir si querían convertirse en públicas o permanecer siendo semi-privadas. El 55% de las ikastolas (63 de 114 escuelas) permanecieron siendo ikastolak, mientras que el 37% (42 escuelas) decidieron convertirse en públicas. El 8% restante (11 escuelas) se calificó como indeterminado. En cuanto a estudiantes se refiere, se estima que 35.991 estudiantes (el 64%) se quedó en las ikastolas, mientras 14.020 estudiantes (el 25%) confiaron en el sistema escolar público. Algunas de las razones que justifican su incorporación a la red de escuelas públicas incluyen la concepción de que ellos creían que ya habían cumplido su función histórica o la falta de presupuesto. Así pues, la Escuela Pública Vasca (Euskal Eskola Públikoa) empezó a dar sus primeros pasos.

Las ikastolas son escuelas vascas semi-privadas financiadas por el gobierno y también por fuentes privadas como son las empresas o las asociaciones religiosas, entre otras. Por el contrario, Euskal Eskola Publikoa es el sistema escolar público vasco financiado y administrado por el Gobierno Vasco. Estas posturas puede que constituyan una rivalidad irresoluble: los partidarios del sistema público sostienen que una educación de calidad debe estar garantizado por el gobierno y debe ser accesible y costeable. Por otro lado, los partidarios del sistema semi-privado sostienen que el dinero garantiza una mejor calidad. En mi opinión, uno de los temas que más ha dañado el duro trabajo tras la revolución educativa en Euskal Herria ha sido la tendencia a querer politizarla. Comúnmente,  la comunidad de izquierdas ha confiado en la escuela pública, el centro ha preferido las semi-privadas, y la derecha ha optado por las privadas. No obstante, generalizar es caer en un terrible error. Lo que es innegable es el incansable trabajo realizado por el sistema educativo vasco en la sociedad y para la sociedad. El sistema escolar vasco ha sido la fuerza impulsora tras la adquisición del euskera en una generación que pudo no haberlo adquirido de otra forma, mi generación.

References

Euskal Herriko Ikastolak. Euskaltzaindia. (2003). El movimiento de las ikastolas. Un pueblo en marcha. El modelo ikastola 1960-2010. Jagon Saila, 1-353.

López-Goñi, I. (2003). Ikastola in the twentieth century: an alternative for schooling in the Basque Country. History of Education,32(6), 661-676.

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Basque schooling: from clandestiny to fame

by Eider Etxebarria Zuluaga

Eider Etxebarria Zuluaga is a graduate student in Spanish Linguistics at the University of Illinois. Eider is planning on finishing her Master’s degree and continuing with a Ph.D. in the same field. She is planning on teaching Basque and Spanish in the future. She wrote this text as a student in 418 ‘Language and Minorities in Europe’.

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1896 was a memorable year in the history of Basque revitalization. This is the year when Kolejio-Ikastechea, the first school that taught entirely in euskera, the Basque language, was founded by Resurrección María de Azkue (1864-1951) in Bilbao. Although the school sorrowfully closed four years later due to the insufficient number of students, at the beginning of the 20th century, so-called auzo-eskolak (neighborhood schools), Basque schools with a more communitarian nature, sprang forth in the Basque-speaking regions. The Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939) authorized the teaching of Basque, to some extent. My great aunt used to tell us that she studied in euskera at school. The Republican era proclaimed religious freedom (“Spain has no official religion”, article3 from the 1931 Constitution), institutionalizing thus laicism in schools. However, with Franco’s dictatorship intrusion, forty years of hunt and terror began, and everything related to euskera, Basque culture or Basque identity was harshly condemned. Bascophilia (euskofilia) was inclemently trampled on. The banner of the Francoist Regime was “España, una, grande y libre” (Spain, one, big and free”) and Castilian was the only language to be used in the Spanish State, of course. Castilian was instilled through institutional tools such as administration, media and education. In this manner, schools were turned into an indoctrination tool at the service of the nation.

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Ikastolak, which emerged during the 60s (1959-1969), constitute the front line of the Basque schooling system. These schools were principally created to fight the imminent extinction of euskera and to confer it with a previously unrecognized status and prestige as a language of culture, administration and life. At the time of their creation, Ikastolak symbolized a socially supported and needed strategy adopted by Basques in Euskal Herria to combat the oppression of Spain and France. As López-Goñi (2003: 662) explains, during the dictatorship they had to be run “on a semi-clandestine basis” under the permanent threat of governmental penalties. These clandestine schools were more commonly known as casas-escuela (school-houses) because classes where taught in particular houses, usually the teachers were the owners of these houses. Las casas-escuelas were financially maintained by students’ parents. It was under these furtive back-door circumstances where ikastolak established themselves as an alternative option for receiving education in Basque. It was around this time when Euskal Herria saw a process of collective awareness strongly sprouting with social gatherings, dancing groups, singing groups, Basque teaching groups, mountain teams, etc.

After the Statute of Autonomy (Autonomia Estatutua) in 1979, better known as the Statute of Guernica (Gernikako Estatutua), ikastolak were legitimately institutionalized. By that time, Spain and France already had well-established national education systems.  Each of these countries alleged that their systems were developers of equality, uniformity, and centrality for their respective nations. This way, the government had complete control and power over all resources such as people, money, information and technology. Ikastolak, for its part, had to be created as a measure of decentralization. Authority passed down to the Basque Government (Euskal Gobernua), who channeled their actions through the Ministry of Education and finally got to each of the individual schools. Thus, although the locus of power remained with the Spanish government, the Basque government could now decide the curriculum content, control the budget and were responsible for employment, building facilities, discipline policies, etc. In the Basque case, as it is in the Breton, Corsican or Catalan cases, the creation of their own forms of schooling enabled and assured the continuity, development and well-being of their languages. Institutionalized Basque education not only played a key role in the prosperity of Basque, but more importantly, it assured its survival.

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The 90s gave a turnaround to the Basque educational system for good but at the same time, they caused the crisis of ikastolak. On February 19, 1993 “Ley de la Escuela Pública Vasca” (Basque Public School Law) passed on. Ikastolak were given three months to decide whether they wanted to become public or stay as ikastolak. 55% of the ikastolak (63 out of 114 schools) remained as ikastolak, while 37% (42 schools) decided to become public. The remaining 8% (11 schools) remains undetermined. Concerning the students, it is estimated that 35,991 students (64%) stayed in ikastolak, while 14,020 students (25%) trusted the public school system. Some of the reasons behind their incorporation to the public school net include the conception that they already accomplished their historical function or economic problems. In such a way, Euskal Eskola Publikoa (Basque Public School) began to take the first steps forward.

Ikastolak are semi-private Basque schools which receive funding from the government in addition to funding from private sources such as enterprises and religious associations, among many others. In contrast, Euskal Eskola Publikoa is the public Basque school system funded and administered by Eusko Jaurlaritza (the Basque Government). This might be a never-ending rivalry between two stances: supporters of the public system argue that quality education should be guaranteed by the government, and it should be accessible and affordable. On the other hand, supporter of the semi-private system argue that money guarantees better quality. In my opinion, one of the issues that harmed most the work behind the educational revolution in Euskal Herria has been the tendency to politicize it. Commonly, the left wing community has relied upon public schools, the center wing has preferred the semi-private schools, and the right wing has trusted private institutions. However, generalizing is falling into committing a terrible mistake. What is undeniable is how indefatigably the Basque education system has worked in the society and for the society. The Basque education system has been the driving force behind the acquisition of euskera in a new generation that might never have acquired it at home, my generation.

References

Euskal Herriko Ikastolak. Euskaltzaindia. (2003). El movimiento de las ikastolas. Un pueblo en marcha. El modelo ikastola 1960-2010. Jagon Saila, 1-353.

López-Goñi, I. (2003). Ikastola in the twentieth century: an alternative for schooling in the Basque Country. History of Education,32(6), 661-676.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

From Theory to Practice: A Further Look at Unity and Language Diversity in the European Union

by Max Colon

Max Colon is a junior in Psychology and Spanish at the University of Illinois. Max is interested in continuing his work with the non-profit organization Illini Fighting Hunger to provide food aid to those in need. He is planning on pursuing a career in Human Resources Management in the future. Max wrote this text as a student enrolled in 418 ‘Language and Minorities in Europe.’

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The home of 500 million people speaking well over 100 different languages, the European Union is a potent political-economic entity of 28 member states with a core mission to improve all aspects of life for its constituents. With its member countries ranging in size from very small to very large, the E.U. is a complex organization with many interests and challenges.

In such a large organization, one would imagine that a single language would be used in an administrative capacity so as to promote efficiency and ease of governance. However, this idea actually runs counter to the European Union’s mission of promoting cultural and linguistic diversity. The European Day of Languages that is celebrated every year on September 26th is one example of the Union’s commitment to language and cultural diversity that has been fostered in a number of different treaties and charters.

There are 24 official languages that span the 28 member states, and a great emphasis is placed on developing multilingualism and ensuring the continuation of regional and minority language use throughout the E.U. Indeed, one of the very important concentrations of the European Commission is “to fund projects and partnerships designed to raise awareness of minority languages, promote their teaching and learning, and thereby help them survive” (EU). The designation of these language as “official” provides member states with two entitlements: the ability to communicate with the E.U. in the member state’s chosen working language from this pool and the ability to view E.U. regulations and other legislative documents in that language.

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However, for all of its support of diversity on paper, many argue that the E.U. falls flat in promoting such diversity in practice. Most recently, Irish Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left Member of the European Parliament Liadh Ní Riada attempted to participate in a language strike during Irish language week in order to raise awareness of the status afforded to the Irish language within E.U. institutions (Sinnfein). Ireland's central statistics office reports that 36,000 people live in designated Irish language regions and 485,000 use the language on a daily basis (CSO).

Another Member of Parliament, Catalan MEP Josep-Maria Terricabas, agrees with Ní Riada, saying that his language has faced similar discrimination in adopting its use in European Union activities despite estimates of the number of native Catalan speakers in the E.U. ranging between four to five million people.

This seems to follow a growing sentiment Riada describes among Members of the European Parliament that a number of minority languages are actually more widely spoken than some official languages and begs the question as to why the use of these languages has not been put into practice in the E.U. Sadly, the answer for Irish is clear enough: since its adoption as an official language in 2007, a derogation has been in place that does not require European Institutions to provide full translation or interpretation services in Irish as is done with all other official E.U. languages.

It would seem obvious that multilingualism in the E.U. cannot be fully realized until languages such as Irish, Basque, Galician or Catalan can be used with regularity and a sense of normalcy throughout daily functions of the organization.  After all, what better way to promote and support minority languages than to have them fully integrated into the highest European governing body?

It is time for E.U. Institutions to stand together and work toward the full integration of all languages into business activities. They must reassess the status of languages throughout Europe to ensure that their policies truly best represent their citizens and protect the diversity that they so strongly promote.

References

http://www.cso.ie/en/newsandevents/pressreleases/2007pressreleases/2006censusofpopulation-volume9-irishlanguage/

http://ec.europa.eu/languages/policy/linguistic-diversity/regional-minority-languages_en.htm

http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/33425

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