We condemn Belgium’s discriminatory ‘Dutch only’ proposal in schools

The Flemish Minister of Education, Ben Weyts, has announced his intention to change the Flemish school regulations in Belgium, whereby only Dutch would be allowed to be spoken.

The minister wants a ban on speaking other languages other than Dutch in schools, meaning not only the classroom, but playgrounds, recreational areas, school cafeterias and other sites.

Arguing that Dutch is the language that makes all others possible, the minister stated: “Parents have to assure that their child is in contact with Dutch after 15:30. If not, you are a bad parent.”

Such a statement can only be understood as a call for reversed apartheid. This is another attempt to restrict children with another mother from accessing Dutch speaking schools. Those most affected by this proposal are French speaking children.

Speaking and learning more than one language should never be seen as a limitation and instead should be supported and promoted, in line with the cooperative foundations of the European Union.

Enforced linguistic regulations cause harm to school children; the Belgian school authorities could learn from the traumatic symptoms experienced by children from minority communities in other countries.

We are deeply saddened by the fact that the education of children is used as a means to divide the population of a country and calls this intended measure pure discrimination and using children for these purposes is simply outrageous.

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