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Parents take first school day off, while new education concept is introduced in Anderlecht
It was back to school on Monday for some 2.3 million pupils across the country. And 16% of parents of younger kids took the day off for it.
HR firm Attentia calculated the figure from its 120,000 members in Belgium. About 22,000 of parents of kids aged five to 12 took a full day off work to accompany them to and from school.
The figure is in fact lower than last year, when the first day of school fell on a Friday. Friday, it seems, is easier to take off than Monday. One figure stands out: About twice as many fathers are taking charge of the day than three years ago.
“More parents actually wanted to take the day off than did, but not all of them had the option,” Marjan Bosmans of Attentia told VRT. The firm would like to see employers be “more flexible” with parents on the day every year.
“That could be coming in a little late or leaving early,” said Bosmans. “They don’t necessarily have to take the whole day off. They could also, for instance, arrange for them to make up the lost hours on other days by coming in early or staying late.”
‘Tienerschool’ makes debut
In other school-related news, there is a whole new concept in education being implemented in some Dutch-speaking schools in Brussels and in Flanders. Children from 10 to 14 are enrolled in so-called tienerschools. The idea is that rather than six years of primary school followed by six years of secondary school, pupils would spend four years in primary, four years in tiener and four years in secondary.
The system is similar to that in the Netherlands, Austria and some other countries, including the US. “Research shows that the switch for many pupils is too brusque,” Jan Royackers of Schoolmakers – an organisation that helps schools implement changes – told VRT. “They go from one teacher to 10 who all have different expectations.”
The tienerschools will work as a bridge, introducing concepts of secondary school and grouping children of similar ages in one school, rather than putting 12-year-old and 18-year-olds on the same campus.
While schools in Flanders are keeping their infrastructure and organising classes differently, Anderlecht has a dedicated tienerschool. One is planned for Schaerbeek next year.
The tienerschool is also a way for pupils to be introduced to a wider variety of subjects before having to choose an educational track. Royackers: “For four years, they will come into contact with the many different study choices that they can then make later.”
Photo courtesy Tienerschool Anderlecht