Expatica news

Minister to stem tide of French students

30 September 2005

BRUSSELS – Wallonia’s higher education minister is holding talks with her French counterpart in a bid to cut the numbers of students from France studying on courses in Belgium.

On Friday, La Libre Belgique reported that Marie-Dominique Simonet had spent the previous day in Paris in a meeting with the French minister Francois Goulard.

Simonet thinks French students are taking too many places on courses in French-speaking Belgium, particularly in some subjects.

In the academic year 2003-4, as many as 71 percent of physiotherapy enrolments were French students. French pupils made up 59 percent of the veterinary science courses, 60 percent of midwife places, 54 percent of chiropody, 54 percent of speech therapists and 37 percent of specialised teachers.

The minister believes the influx is due to quotas set by the French educational system and says the result is Belgian students being denied chances to study certain subjects. She says Belgium risks a shortage in the future of some trained professionals.

French students are also draining Wallonia’s funding, believes Simonet.

La Libre Belgique said Goulard is reported to have said: “If Belgium takes measures, France will do nothing against them.”

However, the paper pointed out that any final measure introduced by Simonet could risk breaking the European Union agreements on the free movement of people and equal rights to all EU citizens.

Austria, for instance, has previously been rapped by the European Court of Justice for banning German students from its courses.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news