Caroline Désir: “It is absurd that Walloon children are not obliged to learn Dutch”
If Caroline Désir has a clear-cut opinion on the question, nothing concrete has yet been done. “Debates are planned and we have to think about it. In a country like Belgium, if we want to continue to understand each other and talk to each other, it’s important,” she says. Currently, students in Brussels schools must take Dutch as their second language, while Walloon students can choose between Dutch and English, this second language being more often chosen for its international character.
“We have to get everyone on board”
In this interview given to our Flemish colleagues, Caroline Désir also discusses the new school calendar of the Federation-Wallonia Brussels. “This is a file that has been dragging on for 30 years – when education was even a federal competence. The biological rhythm of a school year is simply not balanced,” explains the minister. A reform that also seems to please the Flemish Minister of Education, even if the momentum is not yet there among politicians in the North of the country. “For a reform that concerns almost all of society, everyone must be on board. But I did not want to wait for Flanders”, specifies Caroline Désir.
And to respond to families who have children in both the Flemish and Walloon school system, the minister wants to reassure. “Don’t forget that 10 of the 14 weeks of vacation still overlap: many opportunities to go on vacation with the family. The French-speaking community will also have to offer more extra-curricular accommodation, such as camps”.
While waiting for the next vacation, 900,000 students were already returning to school on Monday morning. In accordance with the new school calendar, this return to school now takes place on the last Monday of August. A reform that is not applied in all schools. This is the case of the Athenaeum of Shape and two free schools of the Jewish faith which have introduced a derogation.
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