High school students and teachers from the Belgian city of Ghent are protesting in favour of the continuation of the subjects of ancient Greek and Latin in the secondary education. The organisers estimate about 1,000 students and more than 100 teachers will take part in the rally.
Dutch-speaking Belgian newspaper “De Standaard” points out that “a language can be very nice even if it is dead”. The article goes on to says the defenders of the classical languages are u-p in arms to save the languages of ancient Greek and Latin. At the same time, the dialogue about the utility of “classical languages” has been re-opened recently, as the omens on the numbers of those taking the classes are dwindling.
According to the figures, the number of students who choose Ancient Greek at Flemish schools (Dutch-speaking region of Belgium) is no more than 5,064 compared to 5,921 in 2008-2009 (14.5% decrease). Equally, the number of students who choose Latin, which last year reached 23,339 (down by 18.6%).
The newspaper explores the reason why a part of Flemish society appears to strongly oppose the possibility of scrapping Ancient Greek and Latin from secondary education. In this context, it hosts the views of reputable Belgian academics who are either in favour of or against the continuation of the teaching of Ancient Greek in Flemish secondary education.