Number of foreign-language newcomers in Brussels reception classes keeps rising

The number of children in reception classes for foreign-language newcomers (OKAN) is on the rise, both in secondary and primary education. This was revealed in figures shared by Brussels minister Sven Gatz, who is responsible for Dutch-speaking education in the Belgian capital. Over 50 pupils are currently on waiting lists for OKAN classes.

In the four Dutch-speaking secondary schools that offer OKAN classes in Brussels, a total of 286 pupils were enrolled in the 2020-2021 school year. For the 2021-2022 school year, that number rose to 314, and the October census for this year already shows 333 pupils. The final count will follow in February. 

In primary education, OKAN children are often mixed with regular pupils. A few dozen schools do specifically accommodate OKAN children. According to the latest figures, the number of OKAN pupils in primary education rose from 178 in the 2019-2020 school year to 223 in 2021-2022.

LOP Brussel, a consultation platform for secondary education in Brussels, took stock of the OKAN waiting lists at the end of 2022. 55 pupils are currently waiting for a free spot. The children who register for an OKAN class are most often of Afghan nationality. In second place are Spaniards and, remarkably, in third place are Belgian children. 



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