Jose M. Rojo claims, in his Correspondence 'Schools in a third of Spain teach only in minority languages' (Nature 454, 575; 2008), that public education is not available in Spanish in schools in Catalonia, Mallorca and Valencia. However, in Catalonia, the Spanish-language skills of schoolchildren completing their education are equivalent to those of children across Spain.

The Programme for International Student Assessment ( indicates that the learning capacities of Catalan and Spanish schoolchildren in science and mathematics are not dependent on whether they receive a bilingual education. This conclusion flies in the face of the manifesto mentioned in Rojo's letter, which seeks to enforce a Spanish rather than bilingual education, and to relegate Basque, Catalan and Galician to a linguistic ghetto.

A recent study shows that, in most Spanish regions, between half and two-thirds of the population does not know a foreign language (F. Alvira Martín and J. García López Cuad. Inform. Econ. 205, 119–138; 2008; But in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, where most of the population understands both Catalan and Spanish, about three-quarters of the population can also speak a foreign language. It might be in the better interests of Spain and science to improve the present knowledge of foreign languages and encourage an effective multilingual education, rather than striving to enforce monolingual Spanish education.

See also Languages: Spain's minority-language speakers are bilingual