forward sends all students and teachers this week with a high five to class. This morning a Limburg Vooruit delegation was waiting for the students of A-Maze in Beverlo at the school gates. “A high five. Not only because they deserve it, but because we also want to inform them that with Vooruit 5 we have priorities to make our education the best education for students and teachers,” says Flemish MP Ludwig Vandenhhove (Vooruit). “Flanders, and in Limburg in particular, is increasingly evolving towards a knowledge economy. Our hands and our heads are our riches. Flanders is known for its excellent education. Now we see that, despite the fantastic efforts of our teachers, year after year years in the various lists. Flanders urgently needs to invest again in our students and teachers. That is why we are putting a number of priorities forward,” says Vandenhove.
1. A healthy meal at school for every child. 150,000 children go to school every day with an empty lunch box. How can you concentrate when you are hungry? Offer healthy food to every student at school.
2. A maximum bill: Going to school should be affordable for everyone. No invoice should stand in the way of developing talents. Today there are even students who have to do extra jobs themselves to be able to go on a school trip. That is unacceptable. There should be no expensive or cheap schools. Your choice of study should not depend on your parents’ wallet. That is why we agree a maximum amount for school costs with all secondary schools. So that all children can develop their talents.
3. From student to global citizen: Make religion optional, outside the regular class schedule. Within the school walls, but outside school hours. For those who want. And fill in the freed up time with lessons in Dutch and citizenship. Language is the engine of a good integration policy. Language ensures equal opportunities for every child. Children who speak Dutch can attend school, find a job more easily and integrate into their neighborhood or city. That’s the only way to move forward in life.
4. School is so much more than just being taught: Pupils must be able to fully develop all their talents. Therefore let schools work together with associations for more sports, drama and other activities at school.
According to Vooruit, the solutions are based on five points:
1. Those who move on to education after another job can only count 8 to 10 years of experience for a select number of subjects. For Vooruit, all lateral entrants must be able to include up to 20 years of experience in their salary.
2. The staff regulations and permanent appointments are in urgent need of modernisation. Vooruit argues in favor of an appointment throughout Flanders instead of an appointment at school level. In addition, teachers would no longer be appointed according to the number of regular teaching hours at school. They are instead given a clearly defined 38-hour school assignment, the principle of a full-time working week.
3. We must also strengthen teacher training. With a collaboration between colleges and universities. During the first 3 years, students receive a theoretical basis and first teaching experience. This is followed by an internship as a trainee teacher with an appropriate salary. Bachelors stand in front of the class for 1 year and masters for 2 years.
4. Teachers must be given the time and resources to continue their training within their range of duties. That time is often missing today. A center of expertise within each teacher training course can provide a strong and substantiated offer for teachers who are already in the classroom.
5. Good education starts with a motivated school team. That stands or falls with a good director who has the time, space and skills to implement a strong pedagogical and personnel policy tailored to his or her school. That is why Vooruit advocates training for every director and more autonomy to pursue their own HR policy.
Above all, these five points should ensure that the job of a teacher becomes more attractive. “Start in advance and re-evaluate the training. In addition, upgrade the teacher’s status and work on the relationship with students and parents. Teachers deserve enormous respect for the performance they deliver on a daily basis. We must cherish them. The fact that many of them are still dropping out is a clear signal to the Flemish government that it must set its priorities for education. But because there is not enough movement, we offer those priorities today,” says Yannick Alen van Vooruit Beringen. (Hans Put)