Dutch-speaking pupils to get priority in Flemish periphery

Summary

The policy currently in place in Dutch-speaking schools in Brussels will be extended to the Vlaamse rand to ensure that language rather than distance determines priority

Close to home

The policy of giving priority to families with at least one Dutch-speaking parent when it comes to the school of choice will be extended into the Vlaamse rand, or Flemish periphery of Brussels. Currently the policy is in force only in the Brussels-Capital Region.

When enrolling children in primary and secondary school, parents state their first choice of school. In Flanders, the language spoken at home has no bearing on the child’s chance of getting into that school. Schools tend to use distance from the school when prioritising enrolments.

In Brussels, however, priority for getting into the Dutch-language schools is given to children with at least one Dutch-speaking parent. Now that policy will be extended to the ring of 19 Flemish cities that surround Brussels.

Because of the proximity to Brussels, many French-speaking families live in these cities, and the government of Flanders wants to ensure that children who speak Dutch as a native language have the best chance of getting into the school of their choice.

“In a school like Regina Caeli in Dilbeek, which is right next to the border with Brussels, a pupil from Molenbeek has a better chance of getting in than a pupil from Dilbeek,” said member of parliament Koen Daniëls of N-VA. “We want to give the Dutch-speaking parent in the periphery the assurance that they can send their children to school in their own town.”

Photo: Herwig Vergult/BELGA