Where to find help for newcomer students in Luxembourg ?
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Immigration has always played a decisive role in the Grand Duchy’s economic development and and this trend is not going to stop.
In 1961, the number of inhabitants in Luxembourg amounted to 314,900 people with a proportion of 13.2% of foreigners. On 1 January 2018, the country reached a population of 602,005 people, among which 47,9% of foreigners ! Some of them join the international schools present in the Grand Duchy, while others choose to integrate the Luxembourg school system1. This choice is crucial for the Luxembourgish authorities as it promotes the integration of newcomers into society and preserves the social balance of the country.
That is why several structures have been set up to welcome and guide newcomer students to Luxembourg. First of all, you have the Department of Schooling for Foreign Children (Service de la scolarisation des enfants étrangers - SECAM). Depending on the Ministry of National Education, Childhood and Youth, this service aims to inform newcomers to Luxembourg about the Luxembourg school system, support systems, enrolment in schools and provide, if necessary, intercultural mediation.
Parents, teachers and school authorities can ask for help, free of charge, from an intercultural mediator who speaks a foreign language in addition to the official languages of the Grand-Duchy2. Mediators facilitate communication and mutual understanding between families, pupils and teachers. They give assistance to parents and teachers during the welcoming of the pupils, translate information about the child’s previous schooling in his/her country of origin, help occasionally or regularly in class, etc. To request the intervention of an intercultural mediator, you have to use an online form (only in French).
School reception for students over 12
The School Reception Unit for Newly Arrived Children (Cellule d’accueil scolaire pour élèves nouveaux arrivants – CASNA) provides assistance to young people aged between 12 and 18 who wish to continue their studies in post-primary education. It facilitates their placement into a class corresponding to their profile.
Students who are fluent in Luxembourg’s languages instructions (German, French and, depending on the level, English) are placed in regular classes.
For students aged 12 to 15 who are not fluent in French and German, special classes known as reception classes or integration classes are available. Reception classes are transitional classes designed for non-French speaking students. The students take classes in French for beginners, mathematics and Luxembourgish with a view to joining a lower- or mid-level class in the technical secondary education system (special language-track classes) or in the preparatory track. French-language integration classes are intended for students who do not speak French but had a good academic level in their country of origin. In these classes, the language of instruction is French. They study French intensively, do not learn German and can continue their education in special language-track classes or in preparatory classes leading to the International Baccalaureate diploma. German-language integration classes are aimed at students with a good knowledge of French who had a good academic level in their country of origin. They study German intensively, while all other subjects are taught in French. Depending on the level reached by the end of the year, they can continue their education in a regular secondary school or in a technical secondary school.
For students aged 16 to 17 who are not fluent in French and German, there are 3 options. Integration classes for young adults (Classes d’insertion pour jeunes adultes – CLA) offer basic instruction in French in preparation for technical secondary education or social and economic self-sufficiency. In special language-track classes in mid- and upper-level secondary education (RLS), the programs are identical to those in the standard technical and vocational education system, but the language of instruction is French instead of German. Pre-professional integration classes (Classes d’insertion pré-professionnelle – CLIPP) are transitional classes for students with some knowledge of French. Depending on the student’s skills and goals, the instruction will be geared towards entering the school system or the world of work.
For more information, you can contact CASNA at the following number: (+352) 247-85277. They provide information in English. And don’t forget to visit our website if you want to discover our solutions tailored to newcomers.
1 See our previous article “In which school should you place your children?” 2 As of September 2016, the available languages were Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Creole (Cap Verde), Creole (Guinee Bissau), Czech, Dutch, Filipino, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Nepalese, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croat, Slovak, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and Wolof.