Despite the appeal from a proportion of affected teachers to postpone the application of the reform for one year, the federal parliament approved in a plenary session on Tuesday evening, the extension of the philosophy and citizenship course (known as “CPC”) to the entire recognised secondary school sector.
It will be effective from this coming September. The majority PS-cdH indeed adopted a final decree fixing the implementation of various operational aspects of the new course. From September, the course will replace one of the two hours of moral philosophy or RE exempted up until now. Some 140,000 secondary school pupils are affected by the extension of the new curriculum. Youngsters who wish to can request that they be exempted from the remaining hour of moral philosophy or religious education, in favour of a second hour per week of philosophy and citizenship.
In view of the major organisational issues which were encountered during the past year, during the introduction of the new primary course, a number of secondary school teachers fear they will experience the same difficulties. This is why they are requesting that the reform be deferred. However, owing to the current political situation within French-speaking entities, and to avoid the retention of the “EPA” (an alternative form of pupil educational support) for a further year, the PS and cdH have however decided to forge ahead. At the same time they acknowledge, in hushed tones, that they expect to encounter practical difficulties in September.
To remedy this, and as proposed by Ecolo, the Minister for Education, Marie-Martine Schyns, has accepted that the Parliamentary Education Committee will be able, from the beginning of the new school year, to quickly analyse the facilities within schools for teaching the course. During the debate on Tuesday, Ms Schyns promised, “If there are issues, I am committed to finding feasible improvements.” As critics of the conditions for implementing reform, the MR, Ecolo, DéFi and PTB all abstained from voting.
The Brussels Times