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Education: “We must rebalance budget priorities.’’

Between 2000 and 2015, the budget for compulsory education has increased by 10% in Wallonia-Brussels, while it decreased by 15% for higher education, according to a comparative study prepared by Jean-Paul Lambert, Honorary Rector of St. Louis University. He pleads in Le Soir Monday for a refinancing of higher education.

Professor Lambert compares the evolution of expenditure per student between 2000 and 2015 at constant prices (by neutralizing inflation). For compulsory education (primary and secondary), it has increased by 10% in Wallonia-Brussels (FWB), 19% in Flanders and in neighboring countries, and by 25% in Scandinavia.

During the same period, higher education expenditure at home was down by 15%, whereas everywhere else it was on the rise. “This observation is brutal: while all other countries chose to invest in both compulsory and higher education, the FWB opted for exclusive priority to be given to compulsory education and decided, therefore, to disinvest in higher education,’’ Jean-Paul Lambert declares.

To prevent higher education from getting further behind other countries, “it is necessary to rebalance expenditure in the FWB’s education budget,’’ the former rector said. That is, reduce compulsory education expenditure – for the secondary in particular – to the benefit of the superior, Mr. Lambert suggests.

The Brussels Times