Migrants will be able to take Flemish integration course in country of origin

The Flemish government will organise language and integration courses in the countries of origin of newcomers, Het Laatste Nieuws reported on Friday. People on integration courses can currently only attend Dutch classes in Flanders to prepare for a standardised language test, which has been compulsory since September 2023.

Soon, migrants will be able to learn Dutch and follow an integration programme before they travel to Flanders. "The sooner you start learning Dutch, the sooner you will be successful here. That is why the Dutch course will also be open to people from all countries of origin: we will not exclude anyone," said Education minister Ben Weyts, referring to the Dutch as a second language (NT2) course. "Our adult education is specialised in teaching Dutch to people from very different backgrounds."

"We will not exclude anyone. Our adult education is specialised in teaching Dutch to people from very different backgrounds"

The situation is different for the social orientation course, for which Integration minister Gwendolyn Rutten is responsible. Rutten is relying on the teaching staff of the Integration and Civic Integration Agency to offer the course remotely.

Language of origin

The 60-hour curriculum has eady been offered digitally since the coronavirus pandemic. However, unlike the Dutch course, the civic integration course is taught in the language of origin. This makes it more difficult to include all newcomers. A first pilot project in Arabic is aimed at non-EU citizens who are obliged to integrate.

Since September 2023, newcomers to Flanders have had to take a compulsory standardised language test. The Flemish government went ahead with this reform despite criticism from the education sector and a warning from the Constitutional Court, which saw "discriminatory provisions" in the language test, partly on the basis of nationality.

People on integration courses currently can attend Dutch classes at 113 locations in Flanders.


#FlandersNewsService | Flemish minister of Education Ben Weyts © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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