800 extra teachers for refugee children
Flemish schools have attracted hundreds of extra teachers for the 8,500 newly arrived children in reception classes for those who don’t speak Dutch
No shortage of candidates
Schools haven’t had problems finding candidates, according to Ann Devos, who co-ordinates the Okan classes for the Catholic education network. She told public broadcaster VRT that many teachers had applied spontaneously.
Last week, it was reported that no teachers could be found for a position in a Brussels school. “But it was important to find the right teachers,” said Devos. “About half the newcomers in secondary education cannot read or write, or they use a different alphabet. There are also many youngsters who have come to Flanders without their parents, which makes the work more difficult for teachers, as they cannot discuss matters with parents in these cases.”
In Okan, teachers focus to begin with on familiarising children with the Flemish context and ensuring their welfare. Then, children start to learn Dutch and take part in initiatives to integrate into the school and social life.
The inflow of refugee children has slowed recently, according to Devos, giving schools more breathing space.
Photo: Students attending Okan language class in Hasselt
Courtesy Kta2 Villers
million school-going children in 2013
million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013
percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma