Evarist Bar­tolo brushes off op­po­si­tion to changes in Lan­guage Coun­cil

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Gabriel Schem­bri

Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion Evarist Bar­tolo has brushed off the harsh op­po­si­tion by the Mal­tese aca­demics and those mem­bers of the Mal­tese Lan­guage Coun­cil re­gard­ing the pro­posed changes in the coun­cil’s for­ma­tion.

In com­ments to The Malta In­de­pen­dent, the min­is­ter said that he still can­not un­der­stand what the con­cern of the coun­cil is. “Those sit­ting on the coun­cil now will not lose their place. The only thing that is go­ing to change is the in­creased num­ber of rep­re­sen­ta­tives, namely the Na­tional Book Coun­cil and the Broad­cast­ing Author­ity. Aren’t these aca­demic enough?”

But the Mal­tese Lan­guage Coun­cil has al­ready ex­plained that these rep­re­sen­ta­tives, although they might be in­ter­ested in the lan­guage, are not ex­perts like the aca­demics who have worked in the lan­guage for years. Still, Min­is­ter Bar­tolo be­lieves that these are needed in the coun­cil to en­sure that Mal­tese lan­guage is pre­served.

Asked by this news­pa­per to ex­plain who came up with these pro­posed changes in the coun­cil, the min­is­ter said that it was the sen­ti­ment ex­pressed in the na­tional fo­rum or­gan­ised last year which was very well at­tended. He said that this fo­rum had not met in years and many ex­pressed their con­cern at how the Broad­cast­ing Author­ity needs to sharpen its Mal­tese.

Mr Bar­tolo also said that he had set up a con­sul­ta­tive com­mit­tee be­fore draft­ing the changes. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Dr Olvin Vella who spoke to this news­pa­per, the com­mit­tee never sug­gested that the Coun­cil be in­creased from 11 mem­bers to 13. The min­is­ter in­sisted that this com­mit­tee was made up of very se­ri­ous and com­pe­tent peo­ple.

On the in­tro­duc­tion of en­ti­ties such as the Na­tional Book Coun­cil, the min­is­ter com­mented that he is cer­tain that the NBC rep­re­sen­ta­tive will lis­ten to the aca­demics.

“I want the coun­cil to work to­gether and I thank them for their pre­cious work car­ried out in the past. But I be­lieve that if we widen the coun­cil, work can be done bet­ter. Pub­lish­ers have a vi­tal role. I have said in the past and I will say it again, the fu­ture of the Mal­tese lan­guage de­pends on pub­lish­ers.

“If the aca­demics are con­cerned that they will be in a mi­nor­ity and will not be able to per­suade the few new mem­bers, how will they man­age to per­suade the public?” he added.

Asked to com­ment on Dr Vella’s com­ment, that the min­is­ter wants to ac­com­mo­date lan­guage Tal­iban who are de­tached from re­al­ity, Mr Bar­tolo said that Dr Vella should spec­ify who these peo­ple are.

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