Pre-school Dutch to tackle language problems in Limburg

Summary

A new programme in 13 Limburg municipalities, funded by SALK recovery funds, will help young children improve their Dutch before going to school

Voluntary programme

Limburg province has launched the project Kind en Taal (Child and Language) to improve the Dutch-language skills of children from one to six years old. The goal of the programme is to ensure sufficient language skills to help contribute to a smooth start at school.

The project, which is set up in 13 municipalities, is receiving €6 million over the next four years from the SALK recovery programme, set up after the announced closure of the Ford factory in Genk.

“In some Limburg municipalities, 40% of teenagers leave school without a diploma, and a language deficit is one of the causes,” provincial governor Herman Reynders told Het Belang van Limburg. Reynders said that child poverty and a language deficit often go hand in hand.

In 2015, about 30 professionals and 100 volunteers will assist young families in the 13 Limburg municipalities where poverty is most acute. “We don’t want to wait until children go to school because then it is often already too late,” said Reynders.

Families, who participate on a voluntary basis, are selected by organisations like Kind en Gezin, the social aid agency (OCMW) and schools. “SALK can help change Limburg’s DNA,” said Reynders. “These projects will not immediately result in jobs, but the effects will be visible in the long term.”

Photo courtesy Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie

A new programme in 13 Limburg municipalities, funded by SALK recovery funds, will help young children improve their Dutch before going to school.

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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