The “Eurydice” report by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, Belgium’s childcare facilities for 0-6-year-olds have been described as ‘average’, far behind, unsurprisingly, Scandinavia, according to an article in the newspaper Le Soir on Thursday. Belgium is one of those countries where the demand outstrips supply and with 39% of children under three in daycare, the figures are far behind the Danish leader, coming in at over 70%. The ONE (birth and early childhood agency) points out, however, that in the space of ten years childcare places have increased in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation from 30,000 to 40,000, and that 7,300 more places should be available in 4 years’ time. The following 5,600 are planned to be in place by 2022.
The second black mark against Belgium is the low level of training of nursery professionals. The study recommends they be degree-trained (3 years), while nursery nurses in Belgium tend to have finished this vocational training by the age of 18 and homeworkers undergo training amounting to only 100 hours. For the ONE, the Eurydice report raises many interesting questions at a time when future reform of the childcare sector is under great discussion at the agency.