Being bilingual is an asset

It’s back. Once again officials are to look into the idea of forcing non-Dutch speaking parents to go to language school so that their children will develop proper Dutch skills.

This time, integration minister Ella Vogelaar has apparently decided to set up her own legal investigation into whether there are ‘opportunities to force the parents of young children to learn Dutch’.
It is great to know that the minister has so much faith in Dutch language teachers. It is not clear how many lessons the minister thinks parents will need, but she seems to be confident that they will be up to speed on spelling, pronunciation and grammar fairly quickly.
So much so that they will abandon their own language and switch to Dutch at home, making sure that young John and Kate – sorry Johan and Keet – grow up singing Lang zal ze leven and reading Harry Potter in Dutch.
It is not always easy raising a child to speak Dutch in a non-Dutch speaking household but giving parents a smattering of the language and expecting them to understand what VVT means (don’t ask) is not going to help.
We should give our schools proper resources and be proud of the fact that so many of our children are bilingual.
Millions of children grow up all over the world speaking more than one language as a mother tongue. It’s a skill that needs to be encouraged, not counteracted by law.

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