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Law change to harmonise Belgian school holiday dates

23:11 05/12/2017

School holiday dates in Flemish and French-speaking schools in Belgium will be harmonised when a new decree lodged this week with the Wallonia-Brussels parliament is passed.

The proposal is widely expected to be adopted - as it was tabled on Tuesday by members of the main Socialist and cdH parties and also has the support of Ecolo and DéFI.

Last September, when the 2018/19 school calendar was published, it emerged that the Easter 2019 holidays were a week earlier in Flemish schools than in French-speaking ones. This affects families in Brussels and the nearby suburbs who have children in both school systems.

The anomaly arose because the current wording of the law requires schools in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation to have between 181 and 183 days of class per academic year.

If the Flemish holiday dates had been applied - with a two-week break before Easter Monday itself - the legal minimum would not have been reached, taking into account the timing of other public holidays in the year.

The new decree would change the number of required school days to between 180 and 184, thus allowing greater flexibility in holiday planning. The text will be examined at committee phase shortly before being debated in parliament itself.