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Belgium lags behind in language education at primary school level, study shows

Sep 26, 2016

Only about 37% of Belgian primary school students are taught a foreign language, according to a study by the Statistical Office of the European Union on the occasion of the European Day of Languages. Children across the country are therefore starting too late with learning a second language, write Het Nieuwsblad and Het Belang van Limburg.

"In 2004, French became a compulsory subject for the fifth- and sixth graders in Flemish education," education expert Peter Van Petegem told the newspapers. “While all of our 10- and 11-year-olds may be learning a foreign language, before that age, almost none of them were. That pulls our percentage down a lot compared to other EU countries.”

Only Portugal scores worse than Belgium, with 36.2% of primary school students learning a second language. VUB educator Els Consuegra is not surprised by the results. "We don't prioritise language education enough. We often think we are doing well, when in fact we are preventing ourselves from being open to innovation.”

CC_R Sep 27, 2016 08:33

And yet more children turn out multilingual even the staff at macdonalds seem to speak Flemish French and English. I imagine uk came bottom

fpat1946 Sep 27, 2016 12:10

To look at it more positively: 63 per cent of Belgian primary school children are taught foreign languages....

And they usually speak them VERY well.

I doubt if more than a handful of British children learn a foreign language at primary level...

The proof of the pudding is in the eating: my postman in Wezembeek speaks: French, Dutch, German and English...as do the butcher, the baker and the candle-stick maker:-)

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