A blog on social / public issues and cultural life in Catalonia, Spain and wider Europe.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Catalonia’s School of Shepherds
Photograph by Joan Alvado/Nar Photos/Redux
With Catalonia´s unemployment high, a different kind of school is attracting an increasing number of students from urban areas...
grazed mountainous northeastern Spain for 6 million years, but
20th century industrialization led to a dramatic decline in the
number of shepherds who tended them.
For the last six years,
Catalonia’s School of Shepherds has worked to keep the ancient
profession from disappearing.
with a month of classroom study in a rural home in the Pyrenees. Then
they undergo four months of practical training with a veteran
shepherd, who gradually gives them responsibilities with a herd.
About 80 percent of students complete the course, and more than
60 percent go on to work in livestock farming.
A new shepherd on
a farm that provides food and lodging earns about €680 ($936) a
month, and €900 to €1,200 without room or board.
shepherd—who may tend thousands of animals in a busy summer—earns
as much as €2,000 a month."