Home Schooling

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

Has the coronavirus outbreak and the significant fear it has generated prompted many parents to take responsibility for their child’s home education to avoid the risk of infection at school? The General Administration of Education is not yet able to provide the number of registrations for this formula for this year. Instead, she gave us those from previous school years and explained what the controls were.

The countdown to the first school year in Year I of the reign of Emperor Coronavirus has begun. In a few days, hundreds of thousands of students from the age of 5 (the new era of compulsory schooling) will return to learning in school, in real life, and no longer through a screen or printed PDF documents, as in the spring. distance learning has become the norm. However, some children will continue their education at home in September. Indeed, some parents choose, for various reasons, to take responsibility for their child’s education themselves. This is home schooling, permitted and regulated by law. Has the Covid-19 outbreak and the contagion fears it causes caused more parents to choose this formula? This is the question that RTL INFO asked itself and addressed to the General Education Administration (AGE), which replied that the figures are not yet available. Parents have until Sept. 5 to submit a homeschooling declaration, but after that, homeschooling students’ counts and checks will continue throughout the year, we’re told. In short, we are not prepared to know whether there has been a particular rush to this form of education.

How many homeschool students in previous years?

AGE provided us with the figures for previous years. They are extremely weak. For the 2018-2019 school year, 1122 children were educated by their parents at home. An insignificant 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 homeschool students

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

It should also be noted that children attended by collective educational structures such as “Central Jury” preparatory schools are also equated with home education. They are even fewer: 377 students in 2018.

Total number of students in the three levels of study

WALLONIA
Maternal: 138,214
Main: 267.169
Average: 303,812

(Source: Walstat)

BRUSSELS
Average: 99,647
Main: 99,846
Maternal: 58,023

(Source: Ibsa)

How do authorities monitor homeschooled children?

Letting parents take care of their child’s education doesn’t mean letting them do anything. Many checks are planned so that the child has the same level as those who follow the teaching of the teachers at school. The Office of General Inspection is the one responsible for monitoring the level of training defined by law. This is done at least in the year the child turns 8 and 10, although other checks may be carried out.

In practice, parents receive a summons for a control level of study at least a month in advance. During this control, the child will take some written tests and may have to answer some questions asked orally. This is also a meeting with the parents, who will then explain the way in which the child’s education is organized.

Homeschooling also does not exempt the child from passing the training certificates like other children. It will need to be well prepared by its parents to pass CEB at age 12, CE1D at age 14 and CE2D at age 16.

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

As you have already understood, the decision 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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