Category: books about basque education

Glowing online review for Basque education system

Sean Coughlan, education correspondent for the online BBC news service, recently published an illuminating report on the Basque education system that I would encourage you all to read.

640px-Gure_ohiturak_dantza_taldea_Altzaga_Ikastolako_kiroldegian

Students at the Altzaga Ikastola in Leioa, Bizkaia, take part in the “Gure Ohiturak” (Our Customs) dance group. Photo by Gorkaazk, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The article rests on the fascinating premise that the singularity of the Basque education system “with a strong sense of identity and ambition, emerging from conflict and with a need to compete with much bigger neighbours” potentially makes it “the next rising star” in the world of innovative education.  And referring to the strong emphasis on investment in research and development, Coughlan observes that, “In many ways, the educational profile feels more like a pocket of Scandinavia rather than southern Europe.”

Indeed, the Basque government’s education minister, Cristina Uriarte, is quoted as saying: “Education is the key to keeping our culture.” We couldn’t agree more!

Read the full report here.

If you’re interested in this topic, check out the Center publication Equality, Equity, and Diversity: Educational Solutions in the Basque Country, edited by Alfonso Unceta and Concepción Medrano. This book is available free to download here.

You may also be interested in the following related works:

Implications of Current Research on Social Innovation in the Basque Country, edited by Ander Gurrutxaga Abad and Antonio Rivera. Free to download here

Innovation: Economic, Social, and Cultural Aspects, edited by Mikel Gómez Uranga and Juan Carlos Miguel de Bustos. Free to download here

Herri Urrats, another step toward Basque-language schooling in Iparralde

Yesterday, May 8, Herri Urrats, the annual fundraising event in aid of ikastolak, Basque-language medium schools, in Iparralde took place in Senpere (Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle) in Lapurdi. The event, which has been held every year since 1984, takes the form of a festival held around the Senpere lake, 3 miles or so from the town center.  People typically stroll around the lake, generally hang out, have picnics or grab something to eat at a food stall, and attend one of the many shows on offer (music, dance, theater, etc.). Weather permitting, you can even take a dip in the lake (not really an option this year!), but all in all, a fun day out and all for a good cause.

This year’s event specifically sought to raise funds for renovating the site of the Bernat Etxepare high school in Baiona as well as toward developing a whole new section of the school that will offer, for the first time in Iparralde, vocational education or professional training in Basque.

Check out the official site for the event here, as well as pictures (and a short video) from yesterday, courtesy of Berria, here and below:

Check out, too, the clip for this year’s Herri Urrats song, “Jalgi” (Get out there) by Esne Beltza, which includes the participation of kids from the Bernat Etxepare and Oihana ikastolas.

On Basque education, see Equality, Equity, and Diversity: Educational Solutions in the Basque Country, edited by Alfonso Unceta and Concepción Medrano, available free to download here.

Dr. Sandra Ott’s Presentation of Living with the Enemy at University of San Francisco

Wednesday, March 23rd, Professor Sandra Ott from the  Center will be presenting her new book Living with the Enemy, from 2:00-4:00 pm in McLaren Conference Center at the University of San Francisco.  Professor Ott has spent significant time in Pau, France, performing research and as one of her students, I have learned much more about the Nazi occupation of France during World War II and the various roles that the Basques performed during this time period.

enemy (1)

We congratulate Sandy on her publication and all the work that goes into it! So please attend if in the area, enjoy some refreshments, and enjoy learning about this particular time in Basque history.

 

 

 

Euskara Eguna

December 3rd marked not only the day I presented for the first time at the Basque Lecture Series, but to open the presentation, we also celebrated Euskara Eguna, or Basque Language Day.

The International Day of the Basque Language, annually celebrated on December 3rd, was institutionalized by the Basque Government and the Royal Academy of the Basque Language (Euskaltzaindia) in 1995.

However, its origins go back to 1948, when the 7th Congress of Eusko Ikaskuntza-the Society for Basque Studies reached the following agreement: “a day of the Basque language will be celebrated worldwide once a year on December 3rd.” Following that proclamation, Euskara celebrated its first International Day in 1949 to vindicate the universality of the Basque Language.

December 3rd is St Francis Xavier Day, in honor of a missionary from Navarre born in the 16th century. According to the legend, his last words before dying on December 3rd 1552 were in Basque.

On the occasion of the International Day of the Basque Language, public and private entities alike, as well as various associations, organize several activities (roundtables, exhibitions, workshops, conferences, cultural performances, etc.) to celebrate and support Euskara. Check out any of the following events to help spread the Basque language and culture!

(courtesy of Basque Language Books in Boise, Idaho)

Check out some of our books on the Basque Language by visiting:

Basque Language Books

So, Happy Basque Language Day everyone!

 

Language Rights and Cultural Diversity

Language_Rights_cover_20140508_3_1024x1024

The United States constitution does not clearly stipulate the official language of the country, although English is the most spoken language in governmental, educational, and business circles. Maybe the reason for this is because the founding fathers of this nation tried to preserve the values of diversity rooted in early American society by eliminating any official language clause from the constitution. Being the land of the free and the home of the brave, freedom to choose what language you like to speak is unquestionable. However, there are growing concerns among the established English-speaking elites of this country that the expanding immigrant population in America will soon affect what is understood to be the common language in the United States. It is possible that, several decades from now, Spanish will be the major spoken language in America (with the Hispanic population growing so fast). Will this language shift eradicate the established culture in America? Or is it just a part of the phobia of a handful of Americans, derived from a centuries old racism and white supremacy ideas?

One of the Super Bowl commercials last year resulted in controversial reactions among conservative Americans. In the commercial, several American citizens of different ethnic backgrounds sing “America the Beautiful” in many different languages. The subliminal message within the commercial is aimed at provoking the audience’s perspective regarding pluralism in America, which can be manifested in multilingualism and a multicultural tradition. The commercial depicts an ideal interpretation of American society in which people live hand-in-hand in diversity. Yet this has not been the reality, as racial discrimination has been a part of the American History since the inception of the nation. Slavery existed in the United States in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In addition, nativism is a growing political perspective in the America. Nativist worldviews demand a favored status for the established inhabitants of a nation and, hence, a  lower political or legal status for certain group or ethnicities. One of the items on the political agenda of nativism is maintaining the spirit of mass nationalism, including promoting the use of a national language. Nevertheless, over-enforcement of a national language can potentially lead to language repression and cultural genocide, a centuries old primordial tyranny that has resulted in to the extinction of ancient language and cultures.

The book Language and Cultural Diversity, edited by Xabier Irujo and Viola Miglio, includes case studies that amplify the loss of the linguistic and cultural richness of Basques, Native-Americans, and French-Canadians. Irujo and Miglio maintain that the lack of political, cultural, and legal support has contributed to linguistic and cultural degradation. Woven throughout the book is a belief in the power of discourse and research to protect and even enhance linguistic diversity. Nevertheless, language preservation is only possible if there is an adequate acceptance of cultural diversity and multilingualism as positive outcomes for the whole nationwide population, not just for a minority. It is also recommended that the concept of a monolingual, monocultural nation-state must be abandoned and instead, the concept of a multicultural state should be adopted. Nevertheless, how a multicultural state can be maintained remains open to question. The fact that there has been significant resistance from some American citizens to embrace the multicultural idea shows that the struggle against cultural genocide is an ongoing fight.

For further reading please visit the following link:

http://basquebooks.myshopify.com/products/language-rights-and-cultural-diversity

Basque Ikastola Teachers Visit CBS

IMG_6810

Alkiza, near Asteasu, Gipuzkoa, photo by Daniel Montero

Aitor Atxega and Olga Villa, teachers from the ikastolas of Asteasu and Alkiza, visited CBS the on March 9. Taking advantage of a sabbatical, they traveled to Reno, where they visited Peavine Elementary School. Retired teacher Marilyn Paradis gave them a school tour and introduced them to how classes are managed in Nevada.

Ikastolas are schools that are somewhat separated from the Spanish public school system and that instruct exclusively in Basque. Many were begun clandestinely during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, but in recent times they have emerged and are a leading force in education in the Basque Country. To learn more about the Basque educational system, check out Equality, Equity, and Diversity: Educational Solutions in the Basque Country, edited by Alfonso Unceta and Concepción Medrano. Download it for free here!

baratza_pello-errota

Ikastola community garden. Photo taken from Asteasu Ikastola page.

 

Visit the Asteasu ikastola site here (in Basque)