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Bilingual crèches planned for Luxembourg
Luxembourg

Bilingual crèches planned for Luxembourg

09.07.2014 From our online archive
Luxembourg's Education Minister wants to introduce bi-lingual crèches in a bid to cater for Luxembourg's multicultural families.
Children play with their nursery school teacher at their Kindergarten in Hanau, 30km (18 miles) south of Frankfurt, March 12, 2013. Despite a drive in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's first term to boost the number of childcare spots, Germany's birthrate remains one of the lowest in Europe. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (GERMANY - Tags: POLITICS EDUCATION SOCIETY)

Luxembourg's Education Minister wants to introduce bi-lingual crèches in a bid to cater for Luxembourg's multicultural families.

So far "we've done everything wrong," said Claude Meisch on Tuesday, adding: "Many children attend a nursery in Luxembourg where they speak Luxembourgish. While children of Portuguese origin, French or Serbo-Croatian, for example, very often, attend a private nursery where the staff speak French."

For the minister it is a case of “the world turned upside down!", especially given the challenges of multilingualism in Luxembourg's education system, which remain a chief cause of school failure for many children from immigrant families.

The minister proposes to "change the system" so that children become familiar with languages which are not spoken at home. He wants to "transform the landscape of nurseries" and offer families "bilingual kindergartens with a speaker who speaks French and another who speaks Luxembourgish".

"All crèches must be bilingual in the future," Minister Meisch said, adding they will be essential in preparing young learners for school. Furthermore, he said créches should not be considered simply as a babysitting service but as a step towards helping children to become bilingual, increasing personal experiences.

To ensure "equal opportunities for all children, whether their parents work or not," the coalition DP-LSAP-Greens intends to make childcare facilities for children up to 3 years free.

But, before this reform is implemented, the minister wants to concentrate on hiring staff and addressing legal issues. He added that he does not wish to get rid of subsidies in the form of vouchers. But, he wants to couple this system with specific standards expected from crèches.

Translated from an article by Maurice Fick

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