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Coronavirus: Academic year could be extended to 10 July

Credit: Belga

Wallonia’s institutions for higher education might extend the academic year to 10 July to make up for lost time due to the fight against the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

This idea was put forth earlier this week by Francophone Minister of Higher Education Valérie Glatigny and was deemed “conceivable” by the various unions for higher education in a joint press release.

“In this case, we believe that priority should be given to the learning activities of the graduating years and their evaluation within the framework of the possibilities present in the Landscape decree, and this with the objective of not excessively delaying the graduation and entry into the labour market of these students,” the press release stated.

The Landscape decree is aimed at integrating French-speaking Belgium’s higher education systems within the European Higher Education Area and making them conform to the European model.

“We strongly remind you that the date of 10 July is not a date to be reached, but a flexibility left to the institutions. The practical organisation is their responsibility, with respect for all and the indispensable social consultation,” it added.

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Since the beginning of the confinement, Glatigny has been consulting with everyone involved concerning the practical arrangements for organising the end of the academic year (courses, internships, exams, end-of-study work, etc.) in accordance with the possible evolution of the confinement measures.

However, the trade unions deplore the fact that these discussions take place outside the ARES (Academy of Research and Higher Education), the trade unions and students being consulted separately, according to them.

“This does not allow a direct co-construction of solutions. We would like discussions within the Bureau, the Board and the different chambers of ARES to be relaunched. We also propose that certain practical solutions specific to an area should be discussed within the appropriate committees,” the trade union organisations said.

The Brussels Times

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