Nearly 4 in 10 Flemish primary and pre-school pupils receive school allowance
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Nearly 4 in 10 Flemish primary and pre-school pupils receive school allowance

Credit: Belga

Almost four in ten children in Flemish pre-schools (38%) and primary schools (39%) received a school allowance in the school year 2019-2020, according to the latest results from Statistics Flanders.

The results were published on Tuesday, and recapped several pupil characteristics that determine the social profile of a school – most of which have remained relatively stable.

However, the proportion of pupils receiving such a school allowance is significantly higher than the proportion of pupils receiving the former education allowance, which was 22% of pre-schoolers and 27% of primary school pupils in the school year 2018-2019. This is explained by the fact that the allowance is now part of the new growth package, which replaced the former allowance since the 2019-2020 school year.

After that, the selection criteria to receive an allowance were widened and the procedure was modified, allowing a higher number of pupils to receive an education allowance.

Another striking figure in the statistics, is the increase in the number of pre-schoolers and primary school pupils who do not speak Dutch at home.

Last school year, this share increased to 25% for preschoolers and to 22% for pupils in primary education. Compared to the previous school year, this is “only” a 1% rise, but ten years ago, the figure weres lower, with 17.2% of preschoolers and 13.6% of primary school pupils not speaking Dutch at home.

“We cannot turn away from this evolution,” Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts reacted to the report. “We cannot continue to say that there is nothing to be done about it.”

According to him, the figures only prove that more needs to be done to improve children’s knowledge of Dutch, “with a language screening in kindergarten and sharpened attainment targets that put more emphasis on our language,” he said.

The other two characteristics that were evaluated were the number of pupils who had a mother without a higher education, and whether or not the pupils lived in a neighbourhood with a high dropout or failure rate.

The figures for having a mother without a higher education were most striking for pupils in secondary education, as the share was 2.5 times higher for pupils following part-time education than for those going to school full time.

The Brussels Times