7 in 10 students refuse to use school toilets

7 in 10 students refuse to use school toilets
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On average, 70% of students refrain from going to the toilet at school, according to RTL Info. This situation is concerning for parents and teachers, who worry about the impact this may have on learning and concentration.

The principal cause of this problem is the dilapidated state of many school bathrooms across the country. According to a Geberit/iVox survey, children avoid going to the toilet due to the poor condition of school facilities.

“From an early age, children learn to hold back so as not to frequent these places,” explained Daphné Reynders, project manager at the Federation of Parents and Parents’ Associations in Official Education (FAPEO). “They hardly drink all day and eat very little. They are no longer, in fact, in a mental state to be able to follow lessons and concentrate.”

FAPEO says the survey highlights the need for renewed investment in school renovations. But in the Belgium school system, it often takes many years to start these repairs.

Indeed, repairs are often carried out at a snail's pace. Christine Toumpsin, director of the Institut Notre-Dame in Anderlecht states that the pace of renovations is frustrating. “It took us almost two years, plus working during the two-month vacation,” she lamented. “It was also delayed so we started the year with toilets under construction.”

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While the slow progress of repairs to school facilities can only be addressed through structural reform, some schools are now working with children and their parents to encourage the use of school bathrooms.

Toilet troubles have also caused problems in preschool: in Flanders, one in five pupils aged 2.5 to 4 are starting school without being potty trained. In every class of 20 children aged 2.5 years old, at least seven are now not potty trained.

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