Hundreds of medical students go to court over quotas barring them from profession

Hundreds of medical students go to court over quotas barring them from profession
Credit: © Belga

Nearly 300 medical students in Flanders are going to court over a "discriminatory" quota system which keeps them from starting their medical training despite having successfully completed their entry exams.

A doctor in Aalter, near Ghent, is leading a total of 286 student plaintiffs in denouncing before a court the quotes which the different language communities in Belgium must adhere to.

"[The students] have succeeded and are not allowed to start," general practitioner Karel de Crem told HLN, referring to the fact that medical students in Wallonia were allowed to bypass quotas and start their medical training as "unjust" and "discriminatory."

De Crem, whose son is among the hundreds of students left out by the quota system, said that he wanted as many students as possible to rally behind the lawsuit.

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The lawsuit is motivated by a belief that the quota system, imposed by federal authorities to regulate openings in the medical profession in Belgium, is not correctly followed by Francophone authorities.

News of the lawsuit comes after Minister Ben Weyts, competent for education in Flanders, denounced a perceived lax approach to the quotas his from Francophone education counterparts and announced that the Flemish Community would also drop the quota system.

"As the Flemish Community, we are the only ones who adhere to [the quota system], while the French Community speaks nice wors every year, but ultimately raises its middle finger," Weyts said in an interview in October.

Francophone authorities said that they exceeded quotas of students into the training scheme was aimed at making up for a shortage of general practitioners.

Flanders' adherence to the quota system set by federal authorities means that only 1,205 students in Flanders will be allowed to integrate medical training, despite the fact that a higher number among them passed their examination successfully.

Responding to the news, Domus Medica general practitioners' association in Flanders called on the government to offer a solution to fix the unequal application of the quota system by each language community.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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