As every year, secondary school registrations in the Walloon-Brussels Federation made some people unhappy. According to CIRI, the Inter-Network Enrollment Commission, today there are still 124 students on the waiting list out of 50,218 who were in the process of enrolling in secondary school, representing 0.2% of those students.
As usual, the situation is most pronounced in the Brussels area. Here’s the exact breakdown:
- 103 students for the Brussels-Capital Region
- 4 students in Walloon Brabant
- 17 students in Wallonia.
Less than last year
Education Minister Carolyn Desire’s office elaborates: “For comparison, last year there were 152 students on the waiting list at the same time. Therefore, this year the situation is better.“.
These ‘out-of-school’ students are not actually admitted to any of their chosen schools, which does not mean they have no vacancies. In the Brussels region, for example, there are still 1,400 places available for 103 students who are still on the waiting list. They no longer have a choice: they must enroll in a school where there is room to comply with compulsory education.
Before arriving at this figure, CIRI proceeded in two stages. On August 25, the commission first contacted all parents who had duplicate registrations of their children. That is, they had a place at their second school but were still waiting at the first. If parents choose to remain on hold, then they lose their priority at the second school.
This Monday, after a week of classes, CIRI took stock of the schools of the students who did not show up. Therefore, the number of 124 students still on the waiting list should no longer be changed and these students should now enroll in a school where there are still places available.
If the number of families affected by this situation decreases from year to year, their lives remain very complicated. Frédéric and his wife had chosen four schools in the Brussels area whose educational project met their expectations for their daughter Ayana. But very quickly they learn that she is on the waiting list for those four choices.
“The existing calculation formula penalizes us because we made the choice to move a few years ago from Woluwe-Saint-Pierre to Wezembeek-Oppemcomplained Frederick. It’s crazy that this choice made ten years ago is punishing us for our children’s education“.
In educational institutions where the demand for enrollment exceeds the number of places available, places are determined on the basis of a composite index calculated on the basis of various criteria, including the distance between home and secondary school, that between home and primary school or between primary school and secondary school school.
After that, for Frederick, what he calls a real obstacle course begins. “From October to August 30, we have done everything. Daily phone calls to CIRI, emails, then registered letters to get to a call to a lawyer and a mediator. It takes a lot of energy, the whole family is mobilized to follow the card file“, the father explains.
She was in tears and so was I
On the first day of school, her daughter is still first on the waiting list for their second school, but that’s not enough to get a place. So she stays home. It wasn’t until Friday, September 2 that the good news dropped. Don Bosco College is contacting the family to let them know: Ayana, 12 years old, finally has her place at the school.
“My daughter didn’t show much during this long processFrederick tells us, but yesterday morning when we went to school with her and the teachers met her, she was in tears and so was I“.
The father still regrets it today: “The system does not help us, does not accompany us. We had to fight to get a seat“.
A new decree that will show its effect next year
Next year, the situation should improve even more. Certain criteria considered in the composite index will indeed change. This is the result of a new decree governing secondary school enrollment passed last January.
There will now be 8 criteria instead of 7 and their relative weight in the index will be slightly changed. Thus, the criterion of the distance between the place of residence and the primary school, which has been the basis of criticism of parents for years, noticeably lightens its meaning in favor of the distance between the desired secondary school and the place of residence.
Otherwise, the procedure does not change much. But the registration system will be done in a more decentralized way. The Commission on Inter-Network Enrollment will be replaced by the Commission on Enrollment Management (CoGI). A committee accompanied by ten Local Enrollment Authorities (ILIs) in each school district to better take into account local realities. Evaluation of the new device is planned in four years, in 2026.