It’s an extra week’s holiday for the kids!

Flemish pupils in primary and secondary school have an extra week’s holiday ahead of the Easter break next week.  Flemish education minister Weyts (nationalist) and representatives of the Flemish education sector decided that no remote learning would take place next week after the consultative committee that decides corona restrictions for Belgium as a whole announced schools would close for physical lessons.

They have also launched an appeal asking parents not to send their children to kindergarten.

At Wednesday’s news conference PM De Croo (Flemish liberal) announced a ban on ‘contact education’, while his office released a statement saying “all lessons were suspended”. For hours it remained unclear whether schools could organise remote learning.  Later it emerged this was not going to happen.

Even in secondary schools where remote learning was planned next week this will now not go ahead.

Confusion was rife, but there was a lot of anger too across the entire Flemish education sector. Kindergartens stay open, but teaching unions are incensed kindergarten staff are being instructed to “remain in the firing line” as they put it.  Following the talks involving all players in the Flemish education sector an appeal was launched asking parents not to send kindergarteners to kindergarten. The socialist union even issued strike notification for kindergarten staff.

Flemish PM Jan Jambon (nationalist) has indicated that Flemish kindergartens can decide for themselves whether or not they stay open.

“During the talks I got authorisation for kindergartens to stay open, but it’s not mandatory.  It’s up to the people who have to work there everyday to decide how things are organised.”

Meanwhile at Flemish universities lessons continue, but only online.  “Only essential education activities are permitted on campus” says Leuven rector Luc Sels representing Flemish universities as whole.

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