Lennert (16) writes open letter to Education Minister Weyts: “Abolishing Greek as a direction is immoral” (Antwerp)

Lennert (16) writes open letter to Education Minister Weyts: “Abolishing Greek as a direction is immoral” (Antwerp)
Lennert (16) writes open letter to Education Minister Weyts: “Abolishing Greek as a direction is immoral” (Antwerp)

Lennert De Clercq from Borgerhout is extremely passionate about Latin, Greek and history. These are his favorite subjects, even though they require him to spend almost every day with his nose buried in books until ten o’clock at night. The news that Education Minister Weyts wants to cancel ‘ghost courses’ if they still do not have more than five students in two or three years has hit him deeply, he says. That’s why he took to his pen last weekend.

Under the title The Sword of Damocles he holds oneflaming plea for the Greek direction. His letter to Weyts is peppered with Greek words, he concludes with a quote from Aristotle, also in Greek: The roots of education are bitter, but the fruits are sweet.”

READ ALSO. 1,439 Antwerp students are in a ‘ghost direction’: “Graduating as a kite surfer? Sorry, that’s not the intention.”

Laughed at

“In the fifth year we have nine students who take Greek,” says Lennert. “Three in Greek-Latin, three in Greek-Mathematics, three in Greek-Mathematics-Science. That’s not much, but we are all students who are very passionate about classical languages, we chose that direction because it suits us best. I am not laughed at, but I do know that not everyone believes that courses of study in dead languages ​​should continue to exist. However, they provide a strong basis for further study. For example, I’m thinking of history or language and literature, we’ll see.”

To say that Lennert is passionate about classical languages ​​is an understatement. “Studying Latin and Greek has changed my way of thinking. It feels like I can enter another world because of that knowledge. This year in Latin class we are reading the Georgics and the Bucolica by Virgil, very lyrical texts that describe the atmosphere and create the environment in many words. My favorite genre is epic, like the Iliad from Homer that we read during Greek lessons. Poems actually with up to a thousand verses that give a story much more feeling and dimension through the collaboration of tropes and dactylic hexameters, that is a foot rhythm with alternating long and short sounds.”

Lennert with his eight ‘Greek’ classmates. “I started an online petition on Sunday and more than 1,100 students have already signed.” — © Sarah Van den Elsken

Teacher shortage

With the help of his ‘Greek’ fellow students, Lennert shared his letter to Minister Weyts among friends. “Because there was so much positive response, I started an online petition on Sunday,” says Lennert. “More than 1,100 students from all over Flanders have already signed the petition. I also let Minister Weyts know this. He wants to throw our direction off track,”with fists, with kicks, with biting or in Greek Πύξ, λάξ, δάξ”, as I wrote in my letter. But we are not at all ready for a death sentence from the Greek directions. It is a dead language, but still alive and even combative. Together with professional disciplines such as woodworking, refrigeration techniques and orthopedics, which are also threatened, we form a united front.”

Ben Weyts wants to delete the wrong directions because they partly cause the teacher shortage. “An economic consideration, then,” says Lennert. “At our school there is no wastage of teachers because the class schedules are designed in such a way that we are taught in groups with other disciplines as much as possible. A small effort to offer a basic right such as education optimally, and therefore in all diversity. If that wonderful range of directions is limited, it becomes difficult for some to find their place. That is why I repeat what I wrote in my letter: Mr Weyts, you are at the service of us, students and teachers who are responsible for the future. Your policy shapes our lives, please respond to this call.”

Do not touch existing directions

“The new programming standard does not affect existing directions,” Ben Weyts responds to Lennert’s open letter. “It concerns new applications for courses of study that do not yet exist at a school today. All these new courses of study will have to have at least five students within two years (aso) or three years (tso and bso). In this way we put a brake on the fragmentation of people and resources. Directions that already exist today – and have often existed for years – can simply continue to exist”

Tags: Lennert writes open letter Education Minister Weyts Abolishing Greek direction immoral Antwerp


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