Council anticipates beginning construction of the eastern Sant Francesc bypass road this winter


The plenary session held today by the Formentera Island Council saw approval for a series of issues, the first of which were several town planning accords in the ceding of terrains for the construction of the eastern Sant Francesc bypass road. The second was a resolution to express the Council's disagreement with the approval and application of the Tractament Integrat de Llengües (el TIL, or Integrated Treatment of Languages) at non-university educational centres.

First, and insofar as measures relating to resolutions were concerned, the first four points on the agenda were approved with an absolute majority that included the abstention of the Partido Popular and a nay vote cast by the Grup Independent de Formentera. These measures dealt with the initial approval required for the ceding of land for the construction of the eastern Sant Francesc bypass road. Such measures are possible thanks to the collaborative agreement on highways, which came into effect 14 May 2009 and will remain valid until 2014. Signed by the state government's Ministry of Development and the Formentera Island Council, the agreement allows for construction of the bypass road in the eastern section of Sant Francesc, setting the end of 2015 as the project's deadline for completion.

The new arterial in Sant Francesc will alleviate traffic along Carrer Pla del Rei and contribute to a revitalisation of social and commercial activity on this street. The infrastructural change will also serve to position Sant Francesc as a town free of cars.

The fifth proposal discussed at today's plenary session – regarding ratification of the Consell d'Entitats' (Council of Entities) list of members – received unanimous approval, as did the sixth order of the day: a revision of the regulatory fiscal ordinance on the tax for use of the Sa Miranda Nursery School's facilities and services.

The final measure of the day was approved by absolute majority, with one nay vote being cast by the Partido Popular and the Grup Independent de Formentera preferring abstention. This measure established the Council's stance against the approval and application of the TIL at non-university educational centres.

The Council wishes to make clear its opposition to Decree 15/2013 [19 April], a measure intended to regulate a comprehensive treatment of languages at non-university educational centres in the Balearic Islands. Specifically, the Council wishes to position itself against the precipitated general application of this decree in non-linguistic subjects and upon the entire student body of the island's primary schools and one secondary school.

On the one hand, the Council views irresponsible the improvisational nature of the measure, which, inexplicably and as demonstrated by the public protests organised by a large segment of the affected professionals, benefitted from neither the dialogue nor the consensus of the educational community. The Council finds highly questionable – if not entirely inadmissible – the unilateral manner in which the Govern Balear has proceeded. In addition to being inappropriate and ineffective considering the circumstances at hand, the Govern's action has generated a climate as discouraging as it is unstable for the professionals working in our educational system.

We must also be concerned by the potentially negative repercussions on the our students' academic success in the non-linguistic subjects that this decree stands to affect. Students in the Balearic Islands deserve an educational programme that assures proper knowledge of both of our community's two official languages; one that assures not only knowledge but also use of our own, vehicular language, a language that finds itself still today in the process of linguistic normalisation; deserving of an educational programme that obviously must also assure knowledge of foreign languages. These are important features that the TIL is incapable of guaranteeing.

In an inclusive education, one that strives to compensate for inequalities, schools are the only setting where students can be in contact with, acquire, and practise the Catalan language in real-world contexts. Written and spoken mastery of both languages upon completion of compulsory education become extremely difficult if the real-time hours of Catalan use and exposure are reduced. Our current linguistic project establishes the mechanisms necessary to achieving mastery of both official languages by the time compulsory education is completed.

For these reasons the Council has resolved to urge the Govern Balear to retract Decree 15/2013; to begin a dialogue and work towards a consensus with the educational community; to provide support to school administrations in Formentera and around the Balearic Islands. These administrative teams, as set out by related laws, have established linguistic projects with the support of their respective school councils in order to elaborate a new normative, one that reinforces a foreign language without implying any detriment to Catalan, a language that is both autochthonous to the Balearic Islands and the vehicular language of our educational system.