Wallonia launches 'Language Plan' to promote the knowledge of Dutch among jobseekers

The Walloon Government has adopted a new "Language Plan", the aim of which is to improve competence in other languages (than French) and thus make it easier for Walloon jobseekers to find work. On Saturday, the Walloon Employment and Vocational Training Minister Christie Morreale (socialist) announced that 2.75 million euro is to be invested in the plan. Emphasis will be place on improving Francophone Walloons’ knowledge of Belgium’s other national languages, in particularly Dutch. Unlike in French-medium education in Brussels, the teaching of Dutch is not mandatory in schools in Wallonia. Many Walloon youngsters leave school with little or no knowledge of the language spoken by around 60% of the Belgians. This can prove to be a major handicap when the start looking for work. 

New vocational language training courses will be organised across Wallonia. These will be tailored to suit professions for which the knowledge of other languages is a major asset when you go looking for a job. The Walloon Employment and Vocational Training Service Forem will develop new language modules that are relevant to certain professions.

The plan also includes continuing to provide language immersion scholarships for job-seekers and students. The number of such scolarships will increase from 300 now to up to 1,750. The conditions for being granted access to the scholarships will also be relaxed. The scholarships will be either at a language school or at a company.

Priority will be given to young people enrolled in or leaving full-time education as well as to young people who have received limited scope for language learning in the curriculum of the course that they took. The project also plans to create a reference center for language teaching in Wallonia.

The free-of-charge Wallangues web platform that was launched in 2012 to encourage language learning in Wallonia, will also be given a makeover. Its target audience will also be adapted to include youngsters aged 15 and above. A campaign will also be launched to try and recruit more language teachers and to raise awareness of the importance of other languages, particularly in a country such as Belgium.


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