The situation of West Flemish classes in public schools this year is rather infuriating.
West Flemish has been taught in 3 public elementary schools and 1 confessional elementary school since 2007.
Supported by elected officials from French Flanders, the Institut de la Langue Régionale Flamande / Akademie voor Nuuze Vlaemsche Taele has been urging the Department for Education and its local services to grant West Flemish the same status as that of the other regional languages which are taught in France.
For 12 years, we have also been pleading for a wider access to West Flemish courses, with more elementary schools involved in the programme and with the addition of West Flemish to the curriculum of high schools and universities. We have also been asking for a specific training for volunteer teachers so that our kids can have the same chances to enjoy bilingual schooling as do.
For 12 years the administration has been unresponsive to our claims and has accordingly failed to justify the status quo of West Flemish at school.
Last spring MP Paul Christophe, Regional Councillor Valérie Vanhersel and Mayor Frédéric Devos met with Rectrice Valérie Cabuil, the Head of the regional services of the Department for Education, to discuss the issue. They also dealt with the replacement of the West Flemish teacher who was due to retire this school year.
Rectrice Valérie Cabuil was then heedful, and yet 120 pupils in the 3 public elementary schools of the programme had no West Flemish teacher this September and are now being penalised by a discontinuity in regional language acquisition.
This situation is utterly unacceptable.
Therefore the Institut de la Langue Régionale Flamande / Akademie voor Nuuze Vaemsche Taele asked Rectrice Cabuil to find as soon as possible a solution to the vacancy caused by the West Flemish teacher’s retirement and to eventually regularise the situation of West Flemish teaching in an attempt to give pupils in the West Flemish speaking area as much chance of academic success as the pupils in the areas where other regional languages are spoken and taught.
You can learn about the issue in these two press articles :
Le Journal des Flandres : Enseignement : Inquiétudes autour du flamand occidental