Every central city needs schools that offer education and leisure activities six days a week. This is the opinion of the Vrijdaggroep, a policy platform with young Belgian talents who think about strategies to improve society, in a new report.
According to the group, such ‘six-day schools’ are best built in neighborhoods where the risk of child poverty is greatest. ‘Despite several initiatives to promote more equality in education, we as Flanders are still at the bottom of international rankings in the field of equal opportunities in education. That is why we think it is opportune to turn this problem around and make sure that talent is not wasted in these kinds of schools based on the socio-economic status of children or a lack of the right framework’, it sounds. The Friday group sees an example in the American KIPP schools, which focus on low-income neighborhoods and have a ‘rigorous focus’ on transferring knowledge.
Other ideas include compulsory education from the age of three, deploying the strongest teachers in the most difficult classes, and a minimal range of extracurricular activities for each child. A shorter summer vacation of six weeks is also on the list.
‘Experts agree on these proposals, so why isn’t this happening today?’
According to her, the nine concrete measures proposed by the group are ‘no-brainers’, some are not new either. ‘There is consensus among experts for these proposals and evidence from abroad, so we want to ask policy makers why this isn’t happening today?’
Several proposals are currently being implemented. For example, the think tank argues for the structural embedding of summer schools and the introduction of central tests. Both topics are close to the heart of Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts (N-VA). (km)