Speaking to Lusa, Teresa Duarte Soares, secretary general of the SPCL, said that, despite the federated state of Hamburg being the one with the largest number of Portuguese people in the country, around 16,000 people, the number of students and teachers who attend the Portuguese Language and Culture courses has been decreasing. There are now seven teachers, when ten years ago there were double, she said.
“The teachers have students from 4,5,6 different classes within the class, which is a terrible quality of teaching. Of course, students are unmotivated, as are parents and teachers, because this is not a job that a professional can do”, lamented the union leader.
The solution involves “free and quality education for all students”, she defended.
“This education is public, you cannot charge money from the Portuguese and give free education to foreigners. I also explained why Portuguese is not a curricular language (…) In the case of Germany, places are already occupied by English, French, and sometimes Spanish. Nobody is going to remove these languages to put Portuguese there”, she stated.
The secretary general of the SPCL admits that the German Government provides, in several cases, classrooms and other conditions so that Portuguese can be taught. It remains for the Portuguese State to do its part, she added.
“You can't rely on what others, in this case the German entities, do (…) It's not just saying that Portuguese is the fifth or sixth most spoken language in the world, it doesn't matter if nothing is done . This also involves investing economically to promote our language”, she stressed.
The situation “is unsustainable” and must be corrected “as soon as possible”, warned Teresa Duarte Soares. At this point, tuition fees are 100 euros per year, the amount being reduced depending on the family situation.