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Belgium lags behind in language education at primary school level, study shows
Only about 37% of Belgian primary school students are taught a foreign language, according to a study by the Statistical Office of the European Union on the occasion of the European Day of Languages. Children across the country are therefore starting too late with learning a second language, write Het Nieuwsblad and Het Belang van Limburg.
"In 2004, French became a compulsory subject for the fifth- and sixth graders in Flemish education," education expert Peter Van Petegem told the newspapers. “While all of our 10- and 11-year-olds may be learning a foreign language, before that age, almost none of them were. That pulls our percentage down a lot compared to other EU countries.”
Only Portugal scores worse than Belgium, with 36.2% of primary school students learning a second language. VUB educator Els Consuegra is not surprised by the results. "We don't prioritise language education enough. We often think we are doing well, when in fact we are preventing ourselves from being open to innovation.”