According to the online edition of business newspaper El Economista, Spanish Minister of Education José Ignacio Wert outlined a Plan for Bilingualism to be applied in the academic year 2013-2014 during his first appearance before the Congressional Committee on Education
The goal of the Ministry of Education is to promote education in English aiming at a bilingual model. In the words of the head of the ministerial department, the intention is to pass the Plan in late 2012, so that the elements for implementation can be agreed over the next year.
The Minister expressed the willingness to work with the regional governments, as many Spanish regions have already introduced bilingual plans in their schools since several years ago. “It is good to share experiences,” said Mr. Wert, although “the first step is to set what we mean by bilingualism, then develop the Plan,” he stated. Thus, Spanish regions can join the Ministry draft according to their needs, in order to agree and adopt a common Plan for Bilingualism by the end of the year. Regarding the contents of the Plan, it should include measures to improve the study of English from the second cycle of primary education up to high school, but “replacing the old approach of studying English and change to studying in English,” pointed out the Minister.
Mr. Wert noted that Spain is the fourth country with the lowest proficiency in English within the European Union, and is also ranked in last positions regarding the knowledge of languages in general. On this matter the Ministry aims to not only extend English from the second cycle of primary school to high school, but also expand a second foreign language learning at all stages.
This communication is part of the package of measures for an educational reform promoted by the Executive of Mariano Rajoy. The Spanish Government has announced the extension of high school stage to three years, so students will be able to move towards Grado Medio Intermediate Vocational Training or to Bachillerato Bachelor’s degree a year before today. In addition, the government has referred to a plan to transform Vocational Training into a dual model, that is, a system similar to the German that combines apprenticeships in companies and classroom training.