Barcelona deploys steady efforts to boost the learning of languages that make up the linguistic ecology of its neighbourhoods, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights, which was approved in Barcelona during the World Conference on Linguistic Rights in 1996.
A learning programme for family members’ languages - recogniseing and promoting the linguistic diversity in Barcelona’s neighbourhoods - has been launched to: i) foster multilingualism in the city and within the educational system, ii) enable and strengthen links between the educational community – schools and Parents’ Associations (AMPAs) – and the communities of each neighbourhood, iii) and turn schools into a welcoming and meeting space for families from various cultural contexts.
Implemented in different districts of Barcelona, the project has been launched through different actions.
In the district of Ciutat Vella, a programme has been developed in several schools to encourage mother tongues to be learned by children – Urdu, Bengali and Arabic – and Catalan to be learned among the families participating outside school hours. In 2018, 79 people took part in the courses.
In the district of Gràcia, Romanian language started being taught in 2018, under the World in My School programme, at the school Escola Josep Maria de Segarra (a group of 10 young people) and an Arabic-learning course was launched in 2019, all outside school hours.
In the district Sant Andreu, the Interculturality Service has a mother-tongue programme that currently has two Arabic groups and one Urdu group operational in two different schools in the Trinitat Vella and Bon Pastor neighbourhoods outside school hours. There is also a possibility that a Berber group may be started.
In the district of Horta, the school of Escola Coves de’n Simany has an Arabic-learning group outside school hours but this is an initiative from the school and is not part of any Coexistence and Interculturality Programme.
Finally, in the districts Besòs there are an Urdu and two Arabic groups in two schools that follows courses outside school hours. There are 28 people attending per language.
In Ciutat Vella's case, what is notable is the project’s multidimensional vision, given that - besides the people directly involved and taking part in it - it has sought the involvement of numerous players and the educational community in general: schools, Parents’ Association (AMPA) and Students’ Families’ Association (AFA), associations from the area working with children and families and associations that work with children from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Morocco to support dissemination.
The programme was made possible thanks to the collaboration between schools, AMPAs and AFA, associations from the neighbourhoods working with children, families and diverse groups, and several areas at Barcelona City Council.