Immigrant Students Performing Poorly

Expatica, May 15, 2006

BRUSSELS—An OECD study has indicated that immigrant children in Flanders have fallen behind in subjects such as science, maths and reading.

The OECD measured to what extent the ethnic backgrounds of 15-year-olds influenced their reading, science and maths skills.

The study revealed that Flemish children performed much better than children of immigrant ancestry.

A third of the children of Flemish descent scored top marks for maths compared with just 10 percent of immigrant children.

Some 42.3 percent of immigrant children born in Belgium don’t possess basic skills in the subject compared to only 7.3 percent of Flemish children.

The results for reading

and science show the same tendency, but with less dramatic results.

In response, Flemish Education Minister Frank Vandenbroucke admitted Flanders is performing poorly at integrating immigrants into Belgian society.

He said the home language of students and their socio-economic background played a great role in the divide, but stressed that these elements could not completely explain the poor results of immigrant children.

If immigrants also speak Dutch at home, they still perform worse than Flemish students.

But to address a “morally unacceptable” situation, Vandenbroucke said the Flemish government will still work on improving language lessons from a very early age.

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