Only native speakers should give language classes in Brussels, says Belgian minister

Only native speakers should give language classes in Brussels, says Belgian minister

French-speaking and Dutch-speaking schools should be able to exchange teachers, so only native speakers give language classes, according to Benjamin Dalle (CD&V), party leader for the Flemish Parliament.
CD&V party leader Benjamin Dalle does not want a separate bilingual education. “The best way to make our children multilingual is through the strong schools of both the Flemish and the French-speaking community,” he said, reported Bruzz. That means that the language classes have to become better, especially on the French side, according to him.

“Less than 8% of 18-year-olds who graduate from French-speaking schools say they speak Dutch well,” Dalle said, referring to the most recent Taalbarometer, a survey that counts what languages are spoken by how many people. “We need to work on that,” he added.

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Specifically, Dalle proposed to only have native speakers teach language classes. “Dutch should be taught by a native Dutch speaker, French by a native French speaker. Schools can exchange teachers, sometimes the schools are right next to each other,” he said.

Tinne Van der Straeten (Groen), third on the Chamber List of representatives for Ecolo, is also a fan of a bilingual education. “90% of all Brussels residents are asking for a truly bilingual education. If both Regions are willing to work together, I would be a fan of the idea,” she said, according to Bruzz.

Van der Straeten is particularly bothered that the Flemish government leaves little room for thorough (French) language classes. “The rules for immersion education are not being loosened. If Flanders abandons the capital in this way, I think we in Brussels should be able to organize it ourselves,” she added.

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It does not matter to Van der Straeten if the classes will be arranged by the Region or by the Joint Community Commission (GGC), she is open to all options, according to Bruzz, as long as the classes will be arranged.

“The only condition I have is that it is a truly bilingual education. I do not want to fiddle around doing little things that we have already tried, and that we know are not going to work,” she said.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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