Should Flanders withdraw language requirements for child minders?

The Flemish municipality of Sint-Genesius-Rode is asking the Flemish Government to withdraw legislation that puts extra demands on child minders in Flanders. The new law insists that child minders should have greater knowledge of the Dutch language, the majority language in Belgium.

Rode, a municipality where French-speakers enjoy special rights, wants the legislation withdrawn until Belgium's Constitutional Court rules on a complaint filed by the Francophone Community.

Under the new law only people who can show that they have knowledge of the Dutch language qualify as child minders or can be responsible for a crèche. In Rode, outside Brussels, 107 of the 226 child care places are said to be under threat and this at a time when there is a shortage. Local Francophone councillors point out that language has never led to any problems in child care facilities in the municipality.

Flemish councillors don't understand what all the fuss is about and point to the fact that child-minders have been required to speak Dutch since 2009 and that they have had enough time to come to terms with the new regulations.

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