14% of pupils are not native speakers of Dutch
Figures from last year released by the Flemish Parliament show that one in seven primary school children does not speak Dutch at home.
This works out at 14.2% compared to 10.8% only five years earlier.
The highest number of non-Dutch-speakers at home is concentrated in the big cities: Antwerp (46%), Ghent (37%) and Mechelen (33%). The number of non-native Dutch-speakers in schools in municipalities around Brussels is on the rise too. Saturation in schools in the Belgian capital is being blamed.
Many parents and teachers are concerned about this development. Flemish Education Minister Pascal Smet says that it isn't a problem, but rather a social reality: "We have taken measures. Pupils will in future be screened twice to check their knowledge of Dutch: at the age of 6 when they start primary school and at the age of 12 when they commence secondary school. Pupils who require extra support are obliged to take emersion classes. In this way they do not hold back the rest of the class."
In secondary schools too there is a rise in the number of non-native Dutch-speakers: figures have risen from 7.6% in 2007 to 9.5% last year.
[Flandersnews.be / Expatica]