In 1908, the Barcelona City Council approved the Extraordinary Culture Budget, a plan for comprehensive reform of education in the city based on a free, high-quality and secular públic education in Catalan, with boys and girls sharing classrooms. The project was inspired by experiences of pedagogical renewal from around the world at the turn of the century.
Due to the intransigence of the more conservative Catalan nationalist sectors, Lerroux’s radicals and Catholic groups, the project failed, but it became a milestone that would remain a reference for movements that have fought for an education in freedom.
Education is one of the main defining elements of a society, so tracing its history in Catalonia brings out a key dimension of the political debate, which is still very much alive today. What school model do we need? What education will allow us to be more effective as a society? We must take stock of what we have done to reorient what we want to do!
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