01 Dec '20

Tackling student disadvantage in the Rand

door Gerard Hautekeur
Alarming is the word observers are using to describe social inequalities in the Flemish Rand’s educational system.

‘An analysis of the social deprivation indicators for each municipality shows that the Brussels­ Capital Region is ‘black’ in colour, but most of the municipalities in the Flemish periphery around Brussels are also really ‘dark’’. At least 54% of pupils in municipalities such as Halle and Tervuren, and up to more than 85% in Machelen and Vilvoorde, fall within one or more educational disadvantage categories,’ says Professor Ides Nicaise. He is calling for an emergency programme to be launched in order to tackle the growing educational disadvantage of socially vulnerable groups.

School network organisations are fairly upbeat about this programme, although wary of families ending up having to foot the bill for the initiative. Meanwhile, the Flemish Minister for Education and the Flemish Rand, Ben Weyts (N­VA), announced in early November that he was earmarking 10 million euros to provide 15.000 laptops for disadvantaged students.