Education demonstration in Antwerp: 3,500 demonstrators move from Operaplein to Groenplaats (Antwerp)


The education unions COC, ACOD and VSOA started the first of five strike days in Antwerp on Tuesday. About 3,500 people came together to express their dissatisfaction against the education reform proposals.

‘Protect quality or you will lose the teacher!’ or ‘Paperwork doesn’t make me happy”: many slogans and banners were raised on Tuesday morning on the Operaplein in Antwerp to make the dissatisfaction against the reform proposals clearly visible.

The strike is a response to the report of the Committee of Wise Men. That report, commissioned by Education Minister Ben Weyts (N-VA), proposes a far-reaching reform of the teaching profession. One proposal wants to exchange the so-called performance denominators – the fixed number of hours that a teacher spends time in the classroom, from 20 to 30 hours – for a 38-hour week.

Weyts' underpants are the recurring symbol at this demonstration.

Weyts’ underpants are the recurring symbol at this demonstration. — © Jan Van der Perre

Flexibility needed

Many teachers attended the demonstration, which resulted in the closure of many schools in Antwerp. About 2,000 demonstrators were expected, but the number of attendees quickly rose to 3,500. The crowd moved from Operaplein towards Groenplaats, where the demonstration continued.

“If the 38-hour week comes through, our school will be empty. It is the most vulnerable students who suffer from this. We already work more than 38 hours a week but we do need our flexibility,” say some teachers from De Leerexpert Novanaut in the Seefhoek in Antwerp. “The reform proposals that are now on the table do not address the teacher shortage and the excessive workload in any way. ,” PiusX teachers add.

The unions are planning a demonstration in five waves, per province. Ostend will follow on May 8, Leuven on May 13, Hasselt on May 14 and Ghent on May 15.

The article is in Dutch


Tags: Education demonstration Antwerp demonstrators move Operaplein Groenplaats Antwerp


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