Back to school for 900,000 students, yet some don’t have places
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    Back to school for 900,000 students, yet some don’t have places

    Credit: Belga

    Summer vacation may be over for most of the 900,000 students and 125,000 teachers in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, but some may not be able to start because they are still hunting for a school.

    As of last Tuesday, 481 registrations for secondary students were still pending: 343 in the Brussels region, 68 in Walloon Brabant and 70 elsewhere in Wallonia. 

    This new school year is the first of the new Community legislature and begins even as new majority negotiations are ongoing in the utmost discretion and the direction that will be given to schools for the five years to come is yet unknown. 

    Marie-Martine Schyns (CDH, central humanist democrat), who piloted the implementation of the Excellence Covenant, begins her last school year as Minister of Education. The Federation Wallonia-Brussels expects the return to power of the Liberals after 15 years of absence. Between 1999 and 2004, they had held the portfolio which included secondary and special education, entrusted to Peter Hazette. 

    This announced comeback of the reformers, however, raises many questions among education stakeholders, as the “Blues” were particularly critical of several reforms within the Excellence Covenant, primarily the lengthening of the common core from age 14 to 15. 

    Besides the implementation of the Pact’s reforms, the delicate question of its permanent financing is also to be decided by the future majority. Not to mention other issues of tension, such as the decree on registrations particularly dear to socialists but which the MR (Reformed Movement) has long called to be revoked. 

    Meanwhile, despite various measures announced by the outgoing executive, schools still face a teacher shortage, and finding new directors is still a problem. 

    Implementing the new school governance, with the development of a management plan specific to each establishment, is not happening without difficulty in certain schools.

    The Brussels Times