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Instituto Cervantes - Promotion of Spanish language and Hispanic culture

General InformationTypes Of Cooperation ActivitiesTarget GroupsFinancing
Country Code: P259
Name of Programme: Instituto Cervantes - Promotion of Spanish language and Hispanic culture
Organisation responsible for the programme: Instituto Cervantes/ Ministry of external affairs and cooperation
Type of organisation: Other
Country: Spain
Web Link:
Starting Date 1991
Ending date
Joint initiative involving more than one Ministry? (if applicable)

Programme Description
General and specific objectives
The Instituto Cervantes was set up by Spain in 1991 to promote and teach Spanish and to spread the culture of Spain and Spanish-speaking countries.

The Article 3 of Law 7/1991, created by Institute Cervantes , explains that the ultimate goals of the Institute Cervantes are to promote the education, the study and the use of Spanish universally as a second language, to support the methods and activities that would help the process of Spanish language education, and to contribute to the advancement of the Spanish and Hispanic American cultures throughout non-Spanish speaking countries.

“Spanish has become the most valuable asset of the score of countries and hundreds of millions of us who make up a pluralist community open to all, unified and dentified precisely by a common language.”
“(…) Now, more than ever, Spanish must represent a proposal for friendship and comprehension, a tool of concord and of tolerance, and a channel for creation and understanding between peoples and cultures”.
His Majesty King Juan Carlos

'Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE)', issued by the Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Spanish Ministry for Education, Social Policies and Sport, are official qualifications accrediting levels of competence and command of the Spanish language.

Official qualifications accrediting levels of competence and command of the Spanish language include:
a) Diploma in Spanish (Level A1) certifies sufficient language ability to understand and use familiar everyday expressions which are frequently used anywhere in the Spanish-speaking world; the language is aimed at meeting immediate needs, such as
• Asking for and giving answers on basic personal information about oneself and others ;
• Interacting with speakers in an elementary manner, provided they speak slowly and clearly and are willing to cooperate.

b) Diploma in Spanish (Level A2) certifies the ability of the user of the language to:
• Understand and use familiar everyday expressions which are common throughout the Spanish-speaking world, almost always associated with areas of experience that are particularly relevant because of their immediacy (basic information about oneself and one's family, shopping and places, occupations, etc.);
• Engage in simple and direct communicative exchanges on familiar and routine topics ;
• Describe in simple terms aspects of their past and their surroundings;
• Deal with issues of immediate need.

c) Diploma in Spanish (Level B1) certifies the user's ability to:
• Understand the main points of spoken and written texts related to familiar issues (including work, study or everyday life) in standard varieties of the language which are not too localized;;
• Perform in most situations and contexts in which these issues take place;
• Produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest, such as the description of experiences and events, dreams, plans and aspirations, or the expression of views.

d) Diploma in Spanish (Level B2) certifies the user's ability to
• Understand the essential points of complex oral and written texts, even if they relate to abstract subjects, are presented in different varieties of Spanish, or are of a specialist nature, especially if they deal with areas of expertise that are known;
• Interact with all kinds of speakers with such a degree of fluency and spontaneity that the communication does not involve efforts by any interlocutor;
• Produce clear and detailed reports on various matters, including those involving dialectical analysis, discussion or defence of a point of view.

e) Diploma in Spanish (Level C1) certifies the capacity of the language user to:
• Operate with ease in processing a wide variety of oral and written texts of any length and in any variant of the language, recognizing even implicit meaning, attitudes or intentions;
• Express themselves fluently, spontaneously and without apparent effort;
• Always find a suitable expression to the situation and context, whether it is embedded in social, occupational, or academic domains;
• Use the language flexibly and effectively, demonstrating proper use of complex text structuring and the use of the mechanisms of organization and cohesion that allow proper articulation of messages.

f) Diploma in Spanish (Level C2). It certifies the user's ability to;
• Communicate in any situation where understanding virtually everything heard or read is required, regardless of the length of the texts, their complexity or degree of abstraction, the degree of familiarity with topics, the variety of the language used or the need to make inferences and other operations to access content;
• To express themselves spontaneously, very fluently and with a wide lexical range and great grammatical accuracy, allowing the appreciation of different shades of meaning, even in academic or work-related contexts with a high degree of specialization and complexity.

Priority actions
This organization has branched out in over twenty different countries with 73 centres devoted to the Spanish and Hispanic American culture and Spanish Language.

Services offered by the Instituto:
• courses in Spanish and co-official languages in Spain, both attendance courses and courses on the Internet; Spanish Diplomas (DELE); teacher training; cultural activities;
• libraries and documentation centres; the Cervantes Virtual Centre (CVC) on the network; support to Hispanic studies; publications; television and radio programmes.

The Diploma in Spanish (Proficiency level) will exempt holders from sitting any other examination of Spanish language competence on entering the Spanish educational system when transferring from other countries.

The Diploma in Spanish (Intermediate level) will grant access to the upper level of the first stage of specialist training provided by Spanish Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas.

The Diploma in Spanish (Intermediate level) or the Diploma in Spanish (Proficiency level), as appropriate, will exempt holders, provided that they are nationals of other European Union states, from sitting any other examination of Spanish language competence when applying for posts offered by the Spanish Public Administration or other public bodies.

The Diplomas in Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE) will be regarded as sufficient accreditation of competence in Spanish for the purposes of undertaking professional or academic activities in Spain for which knowledge of the language is required.

Management and coordination
The board of directors approves all the general plans for the institute.It is composed of representatives of the Ministry of foreign affairs, Ministry of education and science, Ministry of culture, Minsitry of economy and business and the president of the institute.
Expected or achieved outputs, outcomes and impacts
Since 1991, the Instituto Cervantes has worked to spread Spanish and the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries.
The Diplomas are issued by the Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Spanish Ministry for Education, Social Policies and Sport, and are officially recognized in a number of countries that subscribe to bilateral agreements on education. The Diplomas in Spanish contribute to the goal of achieving a more multilingual Europe that fosters cooperation and mobility among citizens, promoting better recognition of qualifications and educational stages, as well as a quantitative and qualitative improvement in learning the languages of the European Union.
Some educational institutions have adopted the Diplomas in Spanish as a solution for their assessment needs and for the purposes of academic accreditation. In other cases, the Diplomas have had considerable impact on the design and planning of courses and teaching materials for Spanish as a second language. The Diplomas in Spanish are complementary certifications to the programs of statutory education of foreign languages in many countries and institutions, and they are also instrumental in aiding personal promotion in academic and professional spheres. The Instituto Cervantes further undertakes to carry out negotiations geared towards increasing the international recognition of the Diplomas in Spanish.

Impact and Outcomes:
Every year over 187,000 students study Spanish in around 14,000 Spanish courses taught in Instituto Cervantes centres. Classes on the other co-official languages in Spain, Catalan, Basque and Galician are also taught.
The Instituto Cervantes is the main organization for the training of teachers of Spanish as a foreign language. More than 12,000 teachers per year participate in training courses, updating their knowledge and perfecting teaching techniques.
Every year, more than 45,000 candidates sit the examinations for the DELE Diploma.
During 2008/2009:
• 10,216 classes were offered.
• 150,000 students attended and graduated from the course.
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