The Flemish government will be setting up summer schools especially for children and young people from Ukraine in July and August to help them focus on learning Dutch.
The free summer schools were initially set up for children in the region to compensate for learning time lost during the pandemic. Last month, it was announced these would once again be organised this year. Additional ones will now also be set up to accommodate Ukrainian children.
"Summer schools with an offer tailored to their needs offer opportunities to children and young people from Ukraine," Weyts and Flemish Minister of Internal Administration, Bart Somers, wrote in a statement.
According to the country's Immigration Office estimates, about 11,000 children and young people from Ukraine could be staying in Belgium at the start of the summer holidays, including more than 2,000 pre-schoolers (aged 2.5 to five), about 6,500 children of primary school age and about 3,500 young people of secondary school age.
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"A significant proportion of these children and young people only arrived in Belgium late in the school year: they, therefore, have only limited contact with our education system," the ministers said.
Dutch lessons and trauma support
While the formula will be similar to the summer schools organised for other children — combining lessons with games, culture and sports — they will get tailor-made courses, which focus on Dutch language learning and takes into account the special situation of families that had to flee Ukraine, including the traumas they experienced.
"We want to prepare children and young people from Ukraine as well as possible for the new school year that starts in September," said Weyts. "This is a very vulnerable group that can really use the extra support and guidance in July and August."
The organisation is in the hands of schools and local administrations, while the Flemish Government is responsible for all costs.