When the new school year starts in 2014-2015, schools will be given the option to choose which fourth language they will include in their curriculum from the third grade of general secondary education. This amendment, which puts an end to the existing limitations on schools to offer languages such as Turkish or Arabic, was approved by the Commission for Education in the Flemish Parliament yesterday.
The languages note is aimed at improving the Dutch and foreign language proficiency of young people and will address issues such as the development of Dutch language immersions, additional language lessons, lessons in foreign languages and the initiation of second languages at toddler level. One of the tenets of the languages note is an additional fourth language in the third grade of secondary education fifth and sixth year. The current standard offer is limited to French, English and German and the possibility to learn a fourth foreign language such as Spanish, Italian or Russian is limited.
The original proposal limited the extension to the official languages of the EU and BRICS countries and hence made it possible to study Portuguese and even Hindi, but not Arabic or Japanese, for example. Calls from both the majority and opposition parties to also include generally spoken languages such as Turkish, Arabic and Japanese were originally opposed by the N-VA, but the Flemish Nationalists eventually dropped their objections.