Shock horror! Madrid employs native speakers to kick-start bilingual education programme!

I’ve met quite a lot of English teachers in Spain, but of the native speakers I only know a couple who have worked in the state education system, and then as poorly paid language assistants on here-today-fuck-off-tomorrow contracts. Back in January Esperanza Aguirre indicated her intention to break what she probably regards as the stranglehold of bureaucratic and union protectionist intransigence:

“No comprendo por qué estando España en la Unión Europea no es posible que los teacher ingleses no puedan impartir clases aquí”, ha dicho. A su juicio, es “muy importante que [los profesores] sean nativos, acreditados”. “Si somos europeos, somos europeos”, ha añadido en su discurso que ha dado intercalando español e inglés.

Por ello, la presidenta ha pedido a la viceconsejera de Educación, Alicia Delibes, que se ponga a trabajar en este asunto para lograr que se puedan contratar profesores ingleses.

Aguirre se ha referido al programa de bilingüismo de la Comunidad de Madrid del que ha dicho que es “una prioridad” porque el objetivo del Gobierno regional es “mejorar la calidad de la enseñanza y alcanzar la excelencia académica”. A juicio de la presidenta, “el bilingüismo enriquece a cualquier joven”.

Por otro lado, Aguirre ha manifestado que “la cultura anglosajona es fundamental para occidente”. “Lo ha sido en el pasado, lo es hoy y estoy absolutamente convencida de que lo será en el futuro”, ha añadido.

And now it looks like she’s keeping her word:

La Consejería de Educación ha contratado a 28 profesores de Reino Unido e Irlanda a dedo para dar asignaturas en inglés pese a tener docentes propios habilitados para impartir esas materias. Los nuevos docentes, que no hablan español, comenzaron a incorporarse a los institutos de secundaria de la red bilingüe de Madrid unos días antes del inicio del curso. Pese a que Educación indicó en un primer momento que no ocuparán plazas de funcionarios, las instrucciones que ha enviado a los centros señalan justo lo contrario: sí cubren esas vacantes y forman parte de la plantilla (cupo) de profesores de los centros.

Anglo-Saxon culture continues to be something of a mystery to me, but though there will undoubtedly be problems, which syndicalist xenophobes will undoubtedly try to exacerbate, I tend to regard this as an excellent practical development for Madrid with huge symbolic value for Barcelona, where my impression is that education in one world language is suppressed and in another viewed with apathy and suspicion by the educational establishment.

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Last updated 03/07/2018

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

Barcelona (1399):

Catalonia (1155):

English language (462):

Föcked Translation (414): I posted to a light-hearted blog called Fucked Translation over on Blogger from 2007 to 2016, when I was often in Barcelona. Its original subtitle was "What happens when Spanish institutions and businesses give translation contracts to relatives or to some guy in a bar who once went to London and only charges 0.05€/word." I never actually did much Spanish-English translation (most of my work is from Dutch, French and German) but I was intrigued and amused by the hubristic Spanish belief, then common, that nepotism and quality went hand in hand, and by the nemeses that inevitably followed.

Spain (1881):

Spanish language (504):

Translation (788):


  1. I never qualified as a teacher so perhaps the Thames English school in Cerdanyola was right to say 'no thanks' when I gave them my CV 10 years ago.

    But on the other hand, they gave the green light to hiring my neighbour, a particularly stupid woman, who had 'done quite well in the English course the year before'. I found that my 4 weeks of Spanish lessons made it easier for us to converse in Castilian than English.

    I wonder if anyone in the Thames school can pronounce its name in the generally accepted English manner?

  2. I expect Espe's precipitate departure this week has much to do with her recent heinous crime of suggesting that pesky furriners can do something better than Cousin Bertín and his three weeks in Oxford (well, Bury St Edmunds really).

  3. Despite her being guilty of the heinous crime of possessing lots of money, I'm going to miss her pronouncements – though I have a funny feeling she'll be back.

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