Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 03:11
Earlier English At School
“It is a shame that students only begin with English class at grade 7, as is the case at most schools. I want to give schools every opportunity to start as early as possible with English.” That says Sander Dekker, State Secretary of Education. Dekker has prepared a plan of approach for English in primary education. The plan went Wednesday to the House. “Young children have the ability to playfully learn a foreign language. This ability should not be left unused,” said Dekker. Nearly 1,000 elementary schools have gained experience, in recent years, with English lessons in the lower grades. More and more schools want that the English language will be also partly used in other subjects, eg history, because this is a good way to learn the language. Dekker wants to deal with the rules against it and make teaching in a foreign language possible for 15 percent of class time. Next year an experiment will start at 20 elementary schools with a fully bilingual education. The attention for English will not have a negative effect on the Dutch of the children. In theory, another language, such as German, may be chosen as the second language besides Dutch. It is, however expected that in practice almost always English will be chosen. The PO-board, the organization of the primary education sector, is positive about the plan. "It is good that there is more structural attention for the teaching of foreign languages, especially English. Research shows that it has a lot of sense to start early with that,” says a spokesman of the PO board. According to the PO-board, the Secretary of State has to tackle some obstructions on the road. The connection between primary and secondary education must be better. There is also a greater financial contribution needed from the government, the educational organization thinks. “This can not all be realized with our budget,” said the spokesman.