Flanders funds retired teachers to help students catch up

Flanders funds retired teachers to help students catch up
Credits: Belga

Retired and part-time teachers and anyone with a pedagogical diploma is being called on by the Flemish government to return to the front of classrooms to help students catch up with education missed out on due to the coronavirus crisis.

“If you can help, then volunteer,” the minister said, as reported by Mediahuis newspapers on Wednesday.

The Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts is making €10 million in funding available to enable extra helping hands in classrooms.

After education experts sounded the alarm again this week to highlight that the learning gap is further widening and teachers will not be able to close it this year, one proposal put on the table was to scrap learning material.

This proposition was denied by Weyts, who said this was “only the last option”, resulting in Weyts reaching out to all teacher forces.

“It's all hands on deck,” says Weyts. “Our teachers have been working hard for months now: they can use any help in our fight against shortcomings in education. I appeal to anyone with a pedagogical competence certificate.”

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Those who would like to volunteer to help can simply present themselves as such at schools, as the minister ensures that there will be no lengthy forms or complicated application procedures.

When asked on Radio 1 whether we should be introducing new people to this sphere whilst society as a whole is limiting its number of contacts, Weyts replied: "In this case, it is about the so-called essential third parties. But of course, you must observe all safety precautions."

This new initiative will come into effect after the Carnival holiday, which takes place from 15 to 21 February this year, and will run until the end of the school year, on 30 June.

The government previously launched programmes including summer school, buddy projects, and extra support for distance learning to control the learning gap. 

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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