Belgium in Brief: All Eyes On Schools

Belgium in Brief: All Eyes On Schools

Here we go again (again, again): another last-minute meeting of Belgium's Consultative Committee.

Depending on when you read this, there might already be a concrete set of fresh rules out there, but at midday, the ministers were still meeting.

For now, we have only predictions and the looming threat of school closures.

“The pressure is enormous, and not only in healthcare. Look at education. How do we cope with that? The best method remains a systematic approach,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said yesterday.

“Pointing fingers does not help us at all; we must be able to work together as one,” he said. “And let it be clear, that means that everyone will have to play their part. At a time like this, there can be no taboos.”

Naturally, there are two pretty clear camps on the debate over closing schools – put simply: to close or not to close. There is a strong case for both and arguments on either side will, no doubt, be made now and over the coming days. But most importantly, it should be parents and pupils who are considered.

Does it benefit either?  Closing schools will increase the burden on parents, with many working from home to cover the additional childcare.

What about for the kids?  As ever, the prospect of establishments closing brings to mind visions of excited youngsters ("School's out!"). However, the reality of time outside the classroom is less cause for celebration – particularly for children with less stable domestic situations. For all concerned, an extended Christmas break might not be the present pupils were wishing for.

Prime Minister De Croo has stated that some sectors (education in particular) cannot be kept open to the detriment of others.

So the question today is:

Is closing schools the answer, no matter the cost?

Let @johnstonjules know. 

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