Flanders launches call for entrepreneurs to volunteer in summer schools
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Flanders launches call for entrepreneurs to volunteer in summer schools

Illustration picture shows a teacher wearing a face mask at the gradual re-opening of a primary school in Edegem, Antwerp, Friday 15 May 2020. © BELGA/DIRK WAEM

Belgian entrepreneurs Peter de Keyzer and Olivier Van Horenbeeck wrote an open letter addressing other Flemish entrepreneurs in the newspaper De Tijd last week, calling on them to commit to teaching in summer schools.

“An economic, social and societal catastrophe is looming,” they wrote.

“It is not yet too late to do something about it. But we must act now. That is why we are not launching yet another traditional appeal to the government, civil society or competent authorities.”

Van Horenbeeck and de Keyzer are managing partners at Growth Inc., a strategic communications firm.

The two say the situation is too dire to wait for government intervention.

“The need is too great and the situation too urgent,” said their letter.

“Calling on someone else to do something is far too easy. Let us do it ourselves. We want to roll up our sleeves ourselves.”

In Belgium this year, summer schools are aiming to compensate for learning time lost to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent school closures.

They’re offering ten-day programmes in things like games, culture and sports.

Dozens of Flemish entrepreneurs have already committed themselves to a week of teaching one of these programmes following the appeal from de Keyzer and Van Horenbeeck, and now Flemish ministers are echoing the call.

Translation: We are going to work with all that social commitment that is present in our society. Dozens of entrepreneurs have already offered to teach at a summer school this summer. Will you join them?

“This is Flanders at its best,” said Minister Bart Somers (VLD), who is currently the mayor of Mechelen.

“Entrepreneurs who commit themselves to helping the most vulnerable by standing a few days in front of the class – this is the commitment we need.”

The ministers are using the Twitter hashtag #ikgeefzomerles, which means “I teach summer school.”

Translation: Dozens of Flemish entrepreneurs engage to teach at a summer school. A top initiative that will hopefully be followed by many others. Summer schools really make a difference for some children.

“The more people that roll up their sleeves, the more children and young people we will really help”, said Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts.

The Brussels Times