Bar to pass Flemish integration test goes higher
The result newcomers need to obtain in order to pass the Flemish integration test is becoming more demanding starting 1 March. Newcomers taking the test will have to be able to answer 9 out of 11 questions about "basic fundamental values" correctly.
Since March last year, newcomers face a standardised exam as part of the social orientation course, part of a wider integration package. People taking the course are given practical information about Flemish society, covering topics such as schooling for children and how the healthcare system works, as well as how to get a driving licence and housing.
Basic fundamental values are also discussed. The course touches on gender equality, freedom of speech, the separation of church and state and the role human rights play in our society. The test at the end of the course consists of 41 questions, 11 of which deal with the values mentioned above and 30 with practical knowledge about our society.
Currently, people taking the exam must answer half of these questions correctly to pass. One year after the introduction of the test, Flemish integration minister Bart Somers (liberal) introduced changes that require newcomers to get 9 out of 11 questions on basic fundamental values right or attain an 82 percent success rate.
"When it comes to fundamental values, I demand a thorough knowledge of the subject matter - it is not enough merely to pass," the minister told Belga.w
"The knowledge imparted to the people integrating into our society offers opportunities for faster integration and for them to find work more easily. By raising the bar, we ask more of newcomers, but we also offer more opportunities."
The integration package that also includes a Dutch course is mandatory for newcomers from outside the EU.