The Wallonia-Brussels Federation (FWB) is preparing to welcome a large number of Ukrainian students in its schools in the coming days and weeks, as thousands of refugees are making their way to Belgium.
Currently, 130 students with Ukrainian origins are enrolled in FWB schools; Education Minister Caroline Désir said this number will increase very quickly. Half of the refugees from Ukraine who have arrived in Belgium are minors and therefore of school age.
The Minister had a meeting with the authorities regarding education, the unions, and other school-related actors on Thursday to discuss the reception of Ukrainian children in classes. “We must prepare for a more massive arrival and over time,” she added.
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In addition to educational needs, these refugee children will also need psychological support, given the hardships they have been through and the psychological distress that this has caused.
Faced with a serious shortage of teachers in Belgium, Désir said that she considers hiring Ukrainian teachers to help out in educating the refugee children, for which a specific working group has been set up.
According to estimates by federal authorities, Belgium could host some 200,000 Ukrainian refugees in total, including 80,000 in Wallonia and Brussels. 10,000 have already registered with the Foreigners' Office.