Joëlle Milquet (CDH), Education Minister for Wallonia-Brussels, has recently sent out a circular to official schools, requiring them to ask pupils’ parents to indicate whether their child chooses either religious education or morality classes, or prefers to have neither of these during the next school year beginning in September. The form must be handed in by May 8th and schools must have submitted the results to the Department for Education by May 18th, reported Le Soir on Friday. This seems to be just administrative red tape since the same survey must be completed by the parents in June, and this one will be considered definitive and binding.
A decision by the Constitutional Court now enables any pupil to choose to be exempt from such classes in the 2015/16 school year, without them having to justify their choice. Pupils who choose to be exempt, will have a ‘hole’ in their timetable where these classes would have been scheduled. By September 2016, however, this will be less of an issue since the traditional 2 hours religious/morality teaching will be reduced to 1 hour only, the extra hour freed up being then reserved for an as yet undetermined ‘citizenship’ class.