King Philippe visited the creative teaching workshop “Out of the box” at Etterbeek (Brussels) on Tuesday afternoon.
The atelier, stemming from a private-sector initiative, is intended for young people aged between 15 and 19 who have dropped out of school. The King expressed his admiration for the project and admitted to encountering difficulties himself at school.
“Out of the box” was set up by Diane Hennebert in the autumn of 2015. Young people currently attending the workshop showed off their various achievements to King Philippe. These ranged from clothes they had made themselves to poems they had written. They also played a rap song they had recorded. “I want my children to listen to this track,” the King commented.
Young persons are allocated places there according to their learning difficulties. “When I was young, I had many difficulties at school,” the King said. “I felt ill-treated. It was not easy for me. There are different types of intelligence and school appears to have been conceived for just one. Some children are not ready for such an approach until years later. I think that was the case with me, but this place is a unique gift to you.”
Hennebert, the driving force and sponsor of “Out of the box,” explained how the residential workshop worked. “Reception to the workshop lasts a year. The young people then return to an official school or pass their exams in front of a jury, or again, go abroad. Others enrol at university or start professional training. Whatever the outcome, everyone leaves here with a concrete plan. The results are stunning.”
During the meeting, the King asked thirty or so young drop-outs numerous questions. “Have you regained your taste for life?”, “Who already knows what they want to do later?”, “Do you learn much by yourselves?”.
The youngsters then asked the King some questions, notably concerning what he thought about social networks. “If we use social networks to show someone else who we are to make an impression, that that’s better than distrusting them. You have to be careful. No one is perfect, including me,” King Philippe concluded.