Professor Josep L. Pitarch and the La Lluna children's school are the winners of the 20th Vicent Ventura Prize, established by the Universitat de València in 1998 to honour the memory of the journalist, politician and civic fighter who passed away in 1998. The award will be presented on 7 May at 7 p.m. at the La Nau Cultural Centre of the Universitat de València.
This recognition is given to people or groups that have distinguished themselves for their civic, democratic and commitment to Valencian culture and language. The organising and jury committee for the prize is made up of the Universitat de València, Universitat Jaume I, people who maintained close relations with Vicent Ventura, CCOO (Spanish Workers’ Commissions), STEPV (Valencian Country Workers' and Teachers' Union), UGT (Spanish General Workers’ Union), the Unió de Llauradors i Ramaders (Union of Farmers and Cattlemen) and the Unió de Periodistes Valencians (Union of Valencian Journalists).
Josep L. Pitarch
Josep L. Pitarch has been teaching Catalan in high schools and at the Universitat de València for more than fifty years, and has worked for several entities as a promoter of activities in defence of the teaching and use of Valencian, such as the Educational Sciences Instiute of the Universitat de València, which was directed by Manuel Sanchis Guarner and where he organised courses aimed at preparing school teachers.
Among other positions, he was also director of the campaigns Carles Salvador (I-IX) of the Ausiàs March Foundation as well as territorial secretary of the 2nd International Congress of the Catalan Language and member of the rectoral team of the Universitat Catalana d'Estiu, of Prada. He coordinated the Science Meetings of the Interdepartmental Commission for Research and Technological Innovation of the Generalitat de Catalunya and was responsible for its promotion in the Valencian Community.
Of all his academic curriculum, Pitarch stands out for having been in charge of the implementation of the teaching of Valencian in schools, through the Pla experimental per a l'Ensenyament de la Llengua (1978-79) [Experimental plan for language teaching], during his leadership in the Gabinet Tècnic per a la Normalització i Foment del Valencià [Technical Cabinet for the Normalization and Promotion of Valencia] of the Regional Council of Education in the pre-autonomous stage.
He has published more than two hundred articles on political issues related to language, the struggle for the diffusion and maintenance of the Experimental Plan, in several newspapers and magazines such as L'Espill, Noticias al Día, Valencia Semanal, Saó. In addition, he has more than 8,000 crossword puzzles printed in publications such as Cartela Turia or Diario de Valencia and currently in Levante-EMV, which he started in 1979 in Valencia Semanal.
The children's school La Lluna was born in 1993 thanks to the concerns of five women, who are grouped in a cooperative work associated with the aim of providing comprehensive education in Valencian during the first years of life and raise awareness in society about the importance of this educational stage for the development of children.
The school is the first nursery school 0-3 years of teaching in Valencian recognized by the Regional Council of Education of the Valencian Community and since 2009, manages and carries out the educational project of the nursery school La Lluna-UJI, which was put out to public competition that same year.
Throughout its 25-year trajectory, La Lluna has received several awards for its work in the field of education. The prizes awarded to the school include the Sambori Prize 2016 and 2018, for literature in Valencian, and the Senyera Jaume I in 1999.