A UCJC study shows the complex scenario of bilingual education in Spain

The UCJC Chair on Educational Policies in collaboration with the Association of Bilingual Education have announced the conclusions of the study entitled Evaluación comparada de la calidad normativa de los programas de enseñanza bilingüe en España. Evidencias y recomendaciones (Comparative evaluation of the normative quality of bilingual education programs in Spain. Evidence and recommendations). It provides for the first time a diagnosis on the levels of normative quality of bilingual programmes in Spain. The conclusions were presented today by the director of the Chair, Francisco López Rupérez, and the President of the Association, Xavier Gisbert da Cruz at the University Camilo José Cela Almagro building in Madrid. Professors Isabel García García and Virginia Vinuesa Benítez are also co-authors of the study.  

The report shows a highly complex scenario in Spain in bilingual education once the levels of normative quality of twelve autonomous regions have been compared (those with only one official language) and those for the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla.

There are important differences, in terms of the quality of the regulations for bilingual education programmes in the territories being studied, and there is a marked heterogeneity in the positions of the different educational administrations depending on the aspects of the regulations considered. There is a small number of territories (five of thirteen) that exceed the threshold of 50/100 points of the indicator. All this indicates that there is ample room for improvement of the regulatory quality of the programmes analysed.

The report recommends developing a regulatory framework, with the rank of Royal Decree, for the development of bilingual education programmes in the different autonomous regions, as well as reaching an agreement among all the autonomous regions, under the leadership of the Ministry of Education, to find a bilingual teaching model that allows the existence of similar and reasonably homogeneous programmes throughout Spain.

The importance of teachers and lifelong learning

The results of the study show the importance of teachers, their language requirements, teacher coordination mechanisms and specific ongoing education, both linguistic and methodological, as well as school management, as a means to improve the quality of bilingual education.

The study suggests the evidence should be accepted as a starting point for improving the quality of bilingual education in Spain, as well as the progressive inclusion in the regulations based on the criteria considered as highly important by the panel of experts.

As part of the recommendations, the report also proposes a diagnostic evaluation of language levels and contents, establishing language requirements for teachers, equivalent to level C1 of the CEFR, and establishing coordination mechanisms, developing entry and permanent training systems, both linguistic and methodological, for teachers assigned to these programmes, and establishing an external evaluation system in all bilingual teaching programs.