Alarm over Flemish French-language skills

18th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

18 January 2006, BRUSSELS — The French-language skills of Flemish youths have drastically fallen in the past 20 years and Flemish teachers in Brussels who are required to undergo French tests also perform poorly.

18 January 2006

BRUSSELS — The French-language skills of Flemish youths have drastically fallen in the past 20 years and Flemish teachers in Brussels who are required to undergo French tests also perform poorly.

First-year students who enrolled in the current academic year for a Bachelor of French scored on average 40 percent in a beginners test. In 1986, students scored an average of 55 percent.

Professor of French language and grammar at the Antwerp University Alex Vanneste has raised concern about the decline in language skills, newspaper 'Het Gazet van Antwerpen' reported on Wednesday.
 
"In the first year of a Bachelor, I will need to teach this academic year the French grammar that the students essentially had to have learned by the end of high school," he said. "That first year of university is thus in fact a catch-up year".
 
A similar trend is being witnessed among Flemish teachers who give classes in Brussels. Given the fact that they need to give French lessons in the third year of school, they need to undergo a compulsory language exam.

However, exam results indicate that seven out of 10 teachers are failing the exam. They then miss out on a chance at a permanent position, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported.

Brussels Minister Guy Vanhenge has denied the exams are too difficult. However, he plans to give extra lessons so that teachers can better prepare for the French language exams.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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