The average pass rate for sixth-grade Brussels-Wallonia students taking the Basic Education Certificate (CEB) exams has fallen to 85.42% this year, dropping by 2.9% compared to the year before.
The test assesses students in French, mathematics, history, geography, and science. To succeed, students must earn at least 50% in each of the disciplines. On average, students attained 74.75% in French, 71.35% in mathematics, and 71.35% in the remaining combined subjects.
Perrine Somerlinck, Director of Primary Education at the Saint-Joseph Institute in Charleroi, in a comment to RTL Info, said that the decreased attainment was due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I think it is imperative that we take into account the delay which has nevertheless accumulated following Covid,” the teacher said. All in all, Somerlinck’s students performed well, with no student failing the test.
The Covid-19 pandemic hit the Belgian education system hard. A recent study published by the Federal Planning Bureau in June suggests that Flemish secondary schools are “six months behind schedule” as a result of the pandemic. “They have not covered half of the subject matter that they should have mastered in a normal school year,” said Arnaud Joskin, author of the report.
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Joskin warned that the economic damage of disruption to education during the pandemic will not be visible until the Covid generation enters the labour market, where the effects could be profound.
Data on performance from schools in Wallonia is still not available, however a reduced CEB seems to confirm Joskin’s suspicions that the children in Wallonia are starting to display the effects of missed educational opportunities.