Buenos Aires bans neutral language in schools and angers Fernández government

The government of the city of Buenos Aires has begun to ban school teachers in the Argentine capital from using some forms of so-called neutral language.

Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta said this Friday ( 10) in a press conference that the measure aims to “simplify” the way students learn, after a learning evaluation presents poor results.

“We are adding another measure with the idea of ​​simplifying the way children learn and incorporate language. The idea is to order the use of ‘at’, ‘x’ and ‘e’ in teaching, establishing a guide of best practices to communicate in an inclusive way”, he said.

For now, Expressions such as “chiques” (from “chicos”, children) and “todxs” are prohibited.

The capital’s decision angered the government of the leftist Alberto Fernández. The Argentine Minister of Education, Jaime Perczyk, claimed that improving education “is not done by banning” neutral language, according to statements reproduced by the Associated Press.

“You have to think that if so many boys and girls use this language, it reflects something else, a situation of injustice, of machismo, and that if they use it, it is because they understand that it is a tool to change that”, he claimed.

Through of a resolution released on Thursday (9) by the administration of the Argentine capital, it was established that teachers of daycare centers and primary and secondary schools must develop teaching activities and institutional communication with the rules of the Spanish language, its grammatical norms and official guidelines .

“The results of the evaluations show a setback in language and writing. That’s why it’s very important to clarify the content well so that young people learn in the clearest possible way,” added Rodríguez Larreta.

The city’s Minister of Education, Soledad Acuña, told journalists that the so-called Neutral language is not prohibited as a whole, but that the objective is to encourage other ways of using it without distorting the Spanish language. She claimed that the decision does not represent “a witch hunt”.

The evaluation method used to measure the educational indices of the city of Buenos Aires showed a drop in learning levels. Of a total of 40.34 students in primary education, only 32 ,9% are at advanced levels of learning language practices, while 34,2% remain at a basic level and 6.4% were unable to answer simple questions in texts without complexity.

In the case of secondary education, out of a total of 40.865 students , only 13, 6% fit in the advanced level, 32, 9% in the basic level of reading comprehension and 18, 7% could not solve the exam.

“To promote the learning of reading and writing, they have to master the norms of the Spanish language, as it is. After that, it will be up to each individual to decide how they want to adapt it, but, at school, the Spanish language must be respected, because the indexes show us that it is urgent”, said Larreta.

Clarification: An earlier version of this report used the term inclusive language. The term has been corrected for neutral language.

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