Two elementary schools in Ghent will start an experiment in the upcoming school year in which Turkish children in 1st and 2nd grades will be able to learn reading and writing in Turkish. Flemish minister of Education Frank Vandenbroucke is critical.
Rudy Coddens, alderman of education in Ghent, says that children who don't speak Dutch at home often lag behind in their studies for the first and second year. It's harder for them to learn to read and write since they don't know enough Dutch.
Language specialists have suggested that it's good to start teaching students in their mother tongue. The experiment will be run in the Mandala and de Mozaïek schools. Children in their first two years of studies will get between four and eight hours a week of reading and writing in Turkish. These lessons will be parallel with the Dutch lessons.
A bilingual Turkish-Dutch teacher would be employed next year to back up the kindergartens. Coddens emphasizes that the true language of education would still stay Dutch. The intention is that children will be able to learn Dutch faster from their mother tongue.
Minister Vandenbroucke is critical of the initiative and says that such a project is not evident. The minister will meet with Coddens tomorrow to discuss it.
Source: HLN (Dutch)