The Brussels-Wallonia Minister for Social Advancement Education, Isabelle Simonis, is requesting 8,000 additional hours of French lessons mostly aimed at Syrian refugees. The French Community will need to find 1.2 million euros in its 2016 budget.
The minister reckons that promoting social advancement is the most important aspect when teaching literacy and French language skills. “We have already achieved a recent increase of 10% with 2,000 extra hours to be taught by the end of the year,” she says. This will allow authorities to open 20 new classes and teach French to 500 additional people. 6 full-time jobs will be created to achieve this aim.
A meeting between the Social Advancement Education Minister, Fedasil (Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers), and the Red Cross is scheduled on Wednesday, with the aim to establish geographical priorities determined by where refugees are settled.
The 8,000 additional hours will be taught in the first half of 2016, for a cost of 1.2 million euros.
30,000 people annually are learning to read or to speak French as a foreign language in the Wallonia-Brussels federation, of which over a third are taught and tested through 78 establishments of the Social Advancement Education in Wallonia-Brussels.