Children from under-privileged backgrounds are shifted towards special education programmes too quickly, according to a new report from the (brand new) Belgian Observatory of inequalities. The situation is catastrophic, reports Le Soir on Wednesday. According to the study, 5.62% of children from “the first decile” (the most underprivileged children) are in special education, whereas for “tenth decile” (most privileged) children, the figure is 1.53%. The over-representation of underprivileged children applies to each of the 8 categories of special needs education (type 1: slight intellectual disability, type 2: moderate intellectual disability, etc.).
Joelle Miquet (cdH), the Education minister, knows the problem well. She is working on a recommendation for special education which will form part of the Pact for excellence in teaching, scheduled to be ready by April 2016. It will deal with the question of whether to re-insert into or try to keep struggling students in ordinary education, amongst other issues.