Language test for pre-schoolers abolished

Summary

The government of Flanders is eliminating the compulsory Dutch language test that often-absent pre-schoolers had to pass to enrol in primary school

New procedure gives teachers more options

Children who were not present for at least 220 half days in their last year of pre-school must pass a language test before they can register in a primary school. The test was introduced a few years ago to encourage parents to send their children to school as often as possible. Children who missed too many days were found to suffer from a language deficit and, consequentially, have problems following along at the start of primary school.

The government of Flanders is now scrapping the test because a new language screening procedure is being introduced at the start of the next academic year. Schools will now be able to oblige children with a language deficit to catch up on their Dutch in a language immersion programme. 

The class council, which includes teachers and staff of the pupil support agency CLB, will decide autonomously whether and under what conditions a child can enrol in primary school and can use different tools to evaluate the child – such as a language test.

Photo courtesy VRT

Educational system

The Flemish educational system is divided into two levels: primary (age six to 12) and secondary school (12 to 18). Education is compulsory for children between the ages of six and 18.
Types - There are three educational networks in Flanders: the Flemish Community’s GO! network, and publicly funded education – either publicly or privately run.
Not enough space - In recent years, Flemish schools have been struggling with persistent teacher shortages and a growing lack of school spaces.
No tuition fees - Nursery, primary and secondary school are free in Flanders.
1

million school-going children in 2013

30

million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013

11

percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma