No exams in GO! Schools?

The Flemish State Schools Board that is responsible for the GO! network of state schools has issued advice to the heads of its schools not to organise any final exams at the end of this school year. The board is alongside the Catholic Schools boards and local authorities one of the three main authorities that oversees he organisation of education in Flanders and Dutch-medium education in Brussels. 

The Head of the Board Raymonda Verdyck told journalists that her organisation had issued the advice to its schools as “colleagues wanted clarity” on the issue of what to do about the end of year exam that pupils were due to have taken next month.  

 

Pupils haven’t been taught in school since 13 March. Prior to the Easter holidays they were given homework and revision exercises. During the past two weeks pupils have been given so-called “pre-teaching” in which they are taught new subject matter online that will be gone over again once they return to school. The return to school will be phased in with pupils in the final years of secondary school and those in first, second and final years of primary school being given priority from 18 May. However, the extra space required due to the splitting up of classes in order to ensure social distancing means that it is far from certain whether pupils in other years of primary and secondary education will be able to return to school before the end of June.

Speaking on Friday Ms Verdyk told VRT News that "We are going to asses where pupils are on the basis of continuous evaluation. If we see that pupils have reached the goals set sufficiently they will be given an “A certificate”. If we have any doubts about a pupil we will delay making a decision until August”.

These pupils would be given help during the summer holidays in order for them to be given “a fair appraisal” in August”.

The advice given to GO! schools contradicts a view given by the Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts who said on VRT Television that no setting exams would serve to demotivate youngsters. .

Ms Verdyck says that the advice ties in with what had been agreed between the education boards and the unions and that it is above all important that pupils be given a fair chance.

Meanwhile, Lieven Boeve of the Catholic Education Board says that his organisation will not be issuing any advice on whether or not to organise exams to its schools”.