"Foreign academics get 5 years to learn Dutch!"

Belgium's Flemish government has decided to relax language requirements on foreign academics. At present foreign academics who are not native Dutch-speakers need to prove that they can pass a Dutch language exam within three years if they wish to obtain a permanent appointment. This period is now being extended to five years.
© Peter M Fisher - www.belgaimage.be

The Flemish Education Council recently condemned the current 3 year rule: "Obliging academics to pass the B2 Dutch test within 3 years of their appointment is an obstacle to attracting top level foreign researchers. As a result of this rule there's a threat Flanders will have a harder time attracting these people."

Flemish education minister Hilde Crevits has now decided to relax the 3-year-rule: "We're not lowering the level, but foreign academic talent will get five years to pass the test."

In future schools of advanced education will help foreign academics to reach the A2 language level within two years and the B2 within five years thanks to a tailor-made integration course. Hilde Crevits: "This will allow polytechnics and universities to position themselves internationally in a sustainable fashion and to pursue attractive personnel policies."