Until recently, Galicia had only the University of Santiago de Compostela; but in 1989 and 1990 the Universities of A Coruña and Vigo were set up. The support of the universities for the vindication of the language is of dual importance: firstly because it covers different cultural areas and secondly because it involves social prestige. In addition to the legislation of the Autonomous Community of Galicia, the Statutes of these three institutions include the official status of Galician alonside Spanish. The University of Santiago goes even further by specifying its obligation to promote the use and study of the Galician language.

The Galician University throughout its history has maintained a favourable attitude towards the language, from the times of the Seminar on Galician Studies until the student movements of the sixties. The tradition of the Santiago university facilitated its activities in support of the language. In 1984 the Department of Translation was created in the Rectorate, the main aim of which was to introduce Galician into the university administration. Two years later in 1988, the Department for Linguistic Normalization was created under the supervision of an Expert in Linguistic Normalization. At first it promoted the organisation of courses in Galician for the students, teachers and administrative staff, encouraged publications in Galician and created commissions on scientific terminology to draw up glossaries and nomenclature as additional teaching materials. At present it has three sections: the Department for translation, Correction and Linguistic Advice, the Commission for the Extension of the Use of Galician, and the Terminology Commissions. Congresses, meetings and activities are organised to facilitate the interchange of experiences with universities in other areas having similar problems, and standardisation campaigns are designed, such as the successful one entitled "¡En galego o que ti queiras!" (In Galician, whatever you like) in collaboration with student organisations.

The University of Vigo also formed a Department for Linguistic Normalization after reaching an agreement with the Autonomic Administration. This Department has the same functions as the one in Santiago. One of the first fruits of this organisation is the study on 'The Galician language in the University of Vigo. Present situation. Statistical data.'

In 1991, the University of A Coruña established a basic Agreement for cooperation with the Council of Education for the creation of the "Department for the promotion of the use of the Galician Language" which has already carried out its first actions. One of these was its participation in the advertising campaign "En galego estamos no mundo" (In Galician we are in the world) with the Universities of Santiago and Vigo and another was its presence and collaboration in the Sessions on Linguistic Normalization in Universities which brought together all the Spanish universities with two official languages.

The level of knowledge of the language on the part of all the university sectors is high which is why it is necessary to continue these efforts until the same figures are reached in levels of usage. The results of surveys carried out in Galician universities and published by the Council for Galician Culture show that over 90% understand Galician and 80% of students and administrative staff and 3/4 of the teachers consider themselves able to talk it. With respect to the above-mentioned study in the University of Vigo, the data for the level of knowledge continue to be positive, especially the figures relating to attitudes towards activities to promote Galician as the language of the university. 90% of the students say that can understand Galician very well and 51.2% say they can speak it; 92.5% of the teachers and 83.2% of the administrative staff understand it well or very well.

The international projection of the Galician language can be seen in its presence in universities and cultural organisations throughout the world. In 1994, the European Union even went so far as to decide to extend its Socrates programmes, covering Erasmus (student mobility) and Lingua (foreign language learning), to include the coofficial languages of the Spanish State, ie. Galician, Basque, Catalan and Valencian.

Within the Spanish State, the Barcelona Central University offers a Degree in Galician/Portuguese which it set up at its own initiative and cost. In other cases, there have been agreements to create Chairs or to establish collaboration in various forms, such as courses, seminars, series of lectures, etc. The University of Deusto (Bilbao) has entered into an agreement with the Galician Administration to create a Chair in Galician Studies, within its Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, and its doctorate courses would cover studies on Galician subjects. Lectureships have been set up, the Chairs in Galician Culture, paying special attention to the language and the culture, and special courses have been held with staff from the Galician universities. More than 20 Centres for Galician studies have been set up all around the world.

The first campaign of language normalization launched at university within the Spanish State.

Troughout its history, the Galician university has played a very important role in recovering and dignifying the Galician language.

The Department for Linguistic Normalization was created in 1986 at Santiago de Compostela.

The statutes of the three Galician universities establish the official status of Galician.

Back to education