The new school year began yesterday for many children and 16 percent of Catalan children are now having classes taught in English (article in Castilian, El Periodico). This equates to some 110,000 pupils who will be taught standard subjects but not in either of the official languages of Catalunya but in English, in an attempt by the Generalitat to improve the capabilities of local children in this 'third' language. This scheme is part of a wider plan that started back in 2005 and is gradually being expanded throughout the public education system. A brand-new initiative for this school year will see a notable number of children using a laptop in their lessons. This change is thanks to a policy created by the central Spanish government, entitled Escuela 2.0, to improve the technological resources available in schools here and its aim is to provide a laptop to all children in the last two years of primary school. Parallel to this, the Catalan government plans to supply laptops to students in the first two years of secondary education— thirty-three thousand students in Catalunya are set to benefit from the joint projects this school year.
The Spanish economy is falling behind compared to the wider European one and could be one of the last nations to recover from the current crisis (article in Catalan, Avui). Joaquín Almunia, the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, said yesterday that Spain will be the only one of the larger EU countries to finish this year in the black, while forecasts made in Brussels about the economic status of member countries have been revised concerning Spain to reduce the level of expected growth for this year from 3.7 percent to 3.2 percent. France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and the UK are all expected to continue seeing signs of recovery this year.
The heavy rain that fell in Barcelona yesterday afternoon caused flooding in various ground-floor spaces and car parks (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). Traffic was also made difficult in some streets and the fire services were called out 80 times in the city in an hour, while nearby towns including Sabadell and Gavà were also affected. However, all the incidents to which the bombers were called turned out to be minor and nobody was injured. In addition, the storm saw temperatures fall by seven degrees in half an hour.
Also in the news: Tim Robbins arrives in Barcelona to prepare for his theatre production of 1984 (La Vanguardia); Ciutat Vella closes illegal tourist apartments (El Periodico); New transport ticket for children lacks support (Avui)