Second primary school in Brussels to offer classes in both French and Dutch
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Second primary school in Brussels to offer classes in both French and Dutch

Credit: Belga / A. Gillet

A second primary school in the City of Brussels will start offering classes in both French and Dutch starting from September 2021 in a bid to strengthen language education in the city’s schools.

Les Magnolias primary school in the north of Laeken will become the second in the city to offer immersion education, in which half or sometimes more than half of classes are taught in Dutch, after the Charles Buls primary school in the lower Marolles started this form of education last year.

“Parents in the north of Brussels had already shown interest, so I am happy to be able to meet this need, as there is a real desire to encourage education in Dutch. This is also a way of contributing to living together and of broadening the horizons of the children,” said Faouzia Hariche, Brussels alderman for Public Education.

The Brio ‘Language Barometer’ of the VUB in 2018 reported that 90% of Brussels residents wanted bilingual education, and the waiting lists in Dutch-language schools are long, according to Hariche.

Within this education system, two teachers, one Dutch-speaking and one French-speaking will work together to optimise the children’s skills in both languages.

“Thanks to the active pedagogy and immersion education, pupils are actively involved in their own learning process. They are thus continually stimulated and will learn the language at their own pace and in their own way, through listening and through
repetitive exercises and multiple language activities,” said Hariche.

In higher education, a bachelor’s program for bilingual teachers was started four years ago in cooperation with the Erasmus University College Brussels, so that there is a sufficient number of teachers who can meet the challenge of bilingualism and multilingualism in the Brussels-Capital Region.