Law 1/2018, of 8 May, amending Law 2/2014, on tax, administrative, financial and public sector measures, establishes that students who start a bachelor’s degree at a Catalan university in the 2018-2019 academic year and subsequent years must, on completion of their degree, certify knowledge of one foreign language among those established in the university entrance exams (PAU), with a level of proficiency equivalent to B2 in the European Council’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
The Law established a four-year moratorium on applying the requirement to certify level B2 proficiency in a foreign language, which would have applied to students who had started studying for their university bachelor’s degrees in the 2014-2015 academic year or after. Therefore, generally, only students who start bachelor’s degree studies from the 2018-2019 academic year are required to present certificates of level B2 proficiency. However, some Catalan universities have their own academic regulations on certifying a specific level of proficiency in another language (usually B1 or B2), in general or for certain studies or centres, for bachelor’s degrees.
The CEFR established common criteria throughout Europe to define communication skills in a specific language. According to the CEFR, progressive knowledge of a language is divided into the following levels: A1 (Breakthrough), A2 (Waystage), B1 (Threshold), B2 (Vantage), C1 (Effective Operational Proficiency) and C2 (Mastery). Level B2 indicates that the user has limited functional command of a language and can use it effectively in everyday situations.
The foreign languages that can be accredited at level B2 are those established in the university entrance exams (PAU), which are considered languages of the Catalan education system. These are currently: English, French, German and Italian.
According to Law 1/2018, accreditation of level B2 can be obtained through certificates demonstrating language knowledge at level B2 or higher that are recognised as equivalent to the CEFR. These certificates are listed in the table of certificates and diplomas that certify knowledge of a foreign language, attached to the CIC Board’s Agreement on recognition of certificates and qualifications accrediting foreign language proficiency.