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Teachers plan big strike for Tuesday 23 April

15:57 20/04/2024

French-speaking education unions will be out in force next Tuesday in Brussels, with a one-day strike affecting classes.

Unions are calling for “one last major action” before the 9 June European and regional elections and the end of the school year in early July.

“The message is clear: it is imperative to put education back at the heart of the agenda,” the unions said.

The problems in primary and secondary schools as well as in universities and other higher education institutions are common and well-documented.

They include the shortage of teachers, class sizes, work overload, a lack of funds, too many teacher assessments and the need for more help and monitoring from the psycho-medico-social centres (PMS).

The unions want concrete solutions - for example, more finance, a maximum class size of 15, an end to so-called "ghetto" schools containing a very high proportion of children in difficulty, and a reduction in administrative tasks or educational plans that take time away from teaching.

Teaching staff representatives emphasise in addition that these problems are common to all educational establishments, not only primary schools.

They also say that more attention should be paid to "professional" level education - that prepares students for the world of work and does not lead to university - and that the skills offered should not solely depend on market needs.

A delegation from the Flemish education unions will also take part in the demonstration that will start at 9.30 at Brussels-Central station. The procession will then head to the Wallonia-Brussels Federation headquarters on Place Surlet de Chokier, near Madou metro station, where speeches will be given.

At this stage it is not clear how schools will be affected in practice. In the past, depending on the number of teachers taking part in strike action, some have had to close altogether.

Written by Liz Newmark