Flemings Take to Learning English Instead of French

An excerpt from Education in a federal system: A
case-study of Belgium,
by Caroline Varin, University of Pennsylvania, year 2006:
Most television channels in the Flemish Brabant show English shows,
but usually use subtitles instead of dubbing the voices. This has helped immerse the youth in the Anglo-Saxon culture and facilitated the learning of English. Moreover, the Flemish population has traditionally learnt French as a second language. The Flemish have recently taken to learning English as a second language, as opposed to French, and have developed strong ties with the Anglo-Saxon world, leaving them with a comparative advantage in international business and politics. In a bilingual country, speaking both languages is practically a guarantee of findingemployment, a fact that is evident in the rates of unemployment in Flanders and in Walloon which will be discussed later.

Weaknesses of the Francophone system

There is a panoply of literature speculating on the reasons for the disparity between the results of the Flemish Community and the Walloon-Brussels Community. These mostly focus on the weaknesses of the Francophone education system, particularly the inequity of the schools, the nefarious impact of the ‘redoublement’ and the hierarchic set-up of the schooling institutions. With regards to the influence of the French, it is evident that the French educational system is intrinsically weak, particularly in Reading Comprehension where it ranks 18th out of all OECD countries, but also in mathematics and sciences.

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