Lifelong Learning Programme

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Title of Product
The school in the French-speaking Community of Belgium : Guide for parents of immigrant children
Image of the product
Name of Author(s)
Red Cross of Belgium
Name of Producer
Red Cross of Belgium
Date of Production
Yearly guide
Language of the review
Language of the product
Type of product
Online Publication
Thematic Area
Integration of immigrants students
Target Group
Description of Contents
As part of its mission to support families in their child’s education, the Red Cross of Belgium proposes to parents of migrants an information booklet on how the school system works in French-speaking Belgium.

This guide, updated each year, is available in seven languages: French, English, Albanese, Arabic, Farsi, Russian and Serbo-Croatian.
The guide informs immigrant parents on what the school can bring to their children, on their rights and duties and on those of the schools. It gives a description of the organisation of the schools and of the “classe passerelle” (see success story “Guiding a student from a ‘bridging class’”) and various practical information.
The creation of this guide follows the observation that many parents who came to Belgium knew little about school, notably because of the language barrier, a major obstacle for whoever wants to involve in their children’s education.
This 32 page guide includes a great number of illustrations and pictograms. Colour boxed texts highlight the important information. All the complex words and phrases are written in pink and explained in the lexicon of the same colour at the end of the document.

The content is divided in five parts each with its colour to identify them more easily. It explains in a simple way how the school system works in Belgium:
• What can schooling bring to my child? (learn to talk, read and write, get degrees, find a job more easily…)
• What are our rights and duties as parents and students? (compulsory schooling, to justify absences, to respect the school rules …)
And what are those of the school? (to notify unjustified and numerous absences, to impose penalties, to require respect …)
• How is the schooling organised in Belgium? (the different school levels, possible career options, the bridging class …)
• Practical information (learning French, enrolling one’s child, the rules to respect in class, sport courses, learning difficulties, holidays …)
• Lexicon (definitions) and glossary of degrees (types of certifications and success certificates)

This guide is a concrete and practical tool. It is perfectly adapted to immigrant families, of which many cannot write.

The content is simple and clear, apart from the section describing with too many details the school system.

This tool created in collaboration with parents, associations and professionals in immigrant support and education will be enjoyed by the target families.

It is available for free on the website of the Belgian Red Cross. Immigrant parents can also find there much additional information (shelter, community activities and initiatives …):

Other countries could develop similar tools. For instance, in Quebec, the city of Laval publishes an information booklet “Immigrant parents: services for you in Laval”.

This booklet provides all the information on the school system, language learning services, the activities of libraries (help to reader, access to computers and the internet, children activities …), community resources (help for homework, day nursery, youth centres, …), social services and integration help …

This booklet, created by the Committee of partners in immigration of Laval, has the following aims:
• To inform immigrant parents on how the school works and available resources to help them integrate their children.
• To support the parents and protagonists in their communications.
• To bring the community, the school and the family closer to each other.
• To clarify the parents’ role at school and at home.
• To make parents aware of the importance to participate in their children’s school life.

20 December 2014

Final Partners’ meeting

The fourth partners’ meeting took place in Florence (IT) on 15 December 2014. The meeting had the objective to check the activities carried out since the third meeting of the project and share and assess the in progress results. A special focus has been dedicated to the presentation of the strategies to solve the case scenarios.