Home schooling

Homeschooling: what number of youngsters in Belgium and what controls?

Has the coronavirus epidemic and the considerable fear it generates pushed many parents to take responsibility for homeschooling their child to avoid the risk of contamination at school? The General Administration of Education is not yet able to provide the number of registrations for this formula for this year. On the other hand, she gave us the ones from the previous school years and explained what the checks were.

The countdown to the first school year in Year I of the reign of the Coronavirus Emperor has begun. In a few days, hundreds of thousands of students from the age of 5 (the new age of compulsory schooling) will return to learn in school, in real life and no longer through the screen or printed PDF documents like in the spring. during the shutdown when distance learning became the norm. However, some children will continue home schooling in September. Indeed, some parents choose, for various reasons, to take responsibility for their child’s education themselves. It is home schooling, authorized and regulated by law. Has the Covid-19 epidemic and the fear of contamination that it evokes pushed more parents to choose this formula? This is the question that RTL INFO asked itself and addressed to the General Education Administration (ABGJ), which replied that the figures were not yet available. Parents have until Sept. 5 to send in a homeschooling statement, but then homeschooling student counts and verifications will take place throughout the year, we’re told. In short, we are not ready to know whether there has been a special rush towards this form of education.

How many homeschoolers in previous years?

ABGJ has given us the figures of previous years. They are extremely weak. For the 2018-2019 school year, 1122 children were educated by their parents at home. A marginal number when we know that in the same year nearly one million children (966,711) went to school in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (see details below). However, this number has been increasing in recent years.

Total number of home school students

2013 > 892
2014 > 885
2015 > 909
2016 > 920
2017 > 1044
2018 > 1122

It should also be noted that children attended by collective education structures, such as preparatory schools for the “Central Jury”, are also assimilated with home education. They are even less: 377 students in 2018.

The total number of students in all three levels of education

Mother: 138,214
Primary: 267,169
Medium: 303,812

(Source: Walstat)

Secondary: 99647
Primary: 99,846
Mother: 58,023

(Source: Ibsa)

How do authorities monitor home-schooled children?

Letting parents take care of their child’s education does not mean letting them do anything. Many checks are planned so that the child has the same level as those who follow the teachers’ teaching at school. It is the General Inspection Service that is responsible for monitoring the level of studies defined by law. This is done at least in the year in which the child turns 8 and 10, although other checks may also be done.

In practice, parents receive a call for a study level check at least one month in advance. During this check-up, the child will take some written tests and may have to answer some oral questions. There is also a meeting with the parents who will then explain how the child’s education is organized.

Home schooling also does not exclude the child from passing study certificates like other children. He will need to be well prepared by his parents to pass CEB at age 12, CE1D at age 14 and CE2D at age 16.

Finally, the Inspection Service also verifies that home schooling does not become a pretext for the indoctrination of extremist ideas. Parents cannot protect “values ​​that are clearly incompatible with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”, says the law.

As you will have understood, deciding to take care of your child’s education yourself is not a decision to be taken lightly as it requires a lot of responsibility and effort.

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