Ecolo wants Dutch or German to be required second languages

Summary

Brussels MP calls it “only normal” that all pupils learn Belgium’s majority language

Sharing languages

French-speaking green party Ecolo would like to see Dutch or German become required for pupils in Wallonia. In Brussels, Dutch is required in French-speaking education from the third year, but Ecolo would like to see it start earlier.

“Anchoring the three national languages in all schools is necessary for the unity and future of Belgium,” said Brussels MP Kalvin Soiresse Njall. He emphasises Dutch as a crucial language for pupils to learn.

“Learning the country’s majority language is only normal,” he said. “Moreover, learning a second language makes it easier to build bridges between communities.”

He and fellow Ecolo politicians suggest that German could be a priority as a second language in regions of Wallonia that border Belgium’s German-speaking community. They would like to see a plan rolled out by the academic year 2022-23.

Wallonian education minister Caroline Désir is supportive of the idea. “We would need to open up a broad public debate before we enter into any kind of talks on how to implement such a plan,” she said. “But we could indeed start a debate this year.”

Photo ©Hatim Kaghat/BELGA