Belgium: 30,000 Ukrainian Children Registered in Federal Agency for Reception of Asylum Seekers

The European Commission has announced that so far, about 30,000 refugees from Ukraine have registered with the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Fedasil) in Belgium.

In a statement issued on May 13, the Commission also noted that more than 40 per cent of those refugees are minors, and another 37 per cent are of school age, reports.

“To ensure the integration of these children into the education system, a number of measures are being taken across the country,” the statement reads.

In addition, the Flemish Minister of Education, Ben Weyts, said that the Flanders have the necessary means to quickly provide mobile units (“container” classrooms) and, at the same time, to increase the capacity of schools in order to accommodate the children of newly arrived refugees from Ukraine.

“The OKAN system (reception level education for non-native children) exists to facilitate the school integration of these children, and the Pupil Guidance Centre provides them with psychological support,”  Minister Weyts also pointed out.

According to Weyts, to overcome the shortage of teachers for these children, Ukrainians already living in Flanders and speaking Dutch should be employed.

At the same time, the Flemish government is providing additional resources for the schools that host these refugee children, thus covering the cost of each temporary module created to promote and support their learning.

Flandres is presently cooperating with the Ministry of Education of Ukraine to provide a successful education in the Ukrainian language for refugees.

In this regard, Minister of Community Education Frankofon Caroline Désir stated that the DASPA system (reception and schooling system for newcomers and assimilated students) is adapting to cope with the tremendous increase in the number of newcomers during the school year.

Meanwhile, schools that face this kind of problem of extraordinary growth may request the creation of a new DASPA or require additional staff if they have already organised a DASPA.

There are also many teaching resources available to support teachers in discussing the war in Ukraine with their students.

Minister Désir did not leave without mentioning the important role of Psycho-Medico-Social public centres, which help support children traumatised by their war experiences. Furthermore, as Belgium is in a situation of lack of teachers, she is also considering accepting Ukrainian refugees to reinforce its teaching staff. Data show that about 1,000 Ukrainian children are enrolled in a school in Wallonia or Brussels.

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