“There is a little more serenity. Fortunately, because it’s back to school with a lot of reforms coming into effect. »
Lawyer, always curious about the news, she reacts in particular to the results of the elections in Italy (see video): “Even if the results were expected, we must continue to fight against the far right and enforce the sanitary cordon at home. »
On a daily basis, all his attention is focused on the weeks to come.
Do you fear a rebound in the epidemic?
“The change in the school rhythm with the 15-day break could help us better manage a possible wave. In the long term, schools are increasingly better equipped. We also reminded the staff of basic instructions such as getting their booster doses. »
Are the children and teachers ready?
“We feel that the staff is out of breath after two difficult years. For the children, I don’t want to be alarmist, but they have to find a regular learning pattern. The crisis has done damage. The CEB results are in the low range. What worries us more… is that it is always the most fragile pupils at the socio-economic or educational level who are the first victims. »
With the reform, can all students be entitled to personalized support?
“Personalized support is coming as part of the common core of the first and second primary this year and the third and fourth primary next year. For two to four periods per week, students will be able to have teachers/speech therapists who will do co-teaching. This will allow remediation and overcoming exercises. »
What about children in difficulty?
“No, precisely, we are not going to help only the most fragile. We also want to help all students progress. We will take the time to respect everyone’s school rhythms. The sooner problems are identified, the sooner the child can improve. This must be done at school so that there are not even more inequalities between children. Indeed, outside the school, some parents can pay for private lessons where others cannot. Our idea is really to repatriate this care in the school. »
With your project of territorial poles, the schools will work better together?
“First of all, we have high quality specialist education in Belgium with passionate professionals. This represents 36,000 children and many French children come to us. However, we have too many children in special education compared to the OECD average. We know that there are inadequate referrals to specialized education for children who do not master the language sufficiently, for example. Some children could be kept in the mainstream with adequate funding. »
It’s possible ?
“48 territorial centers are present on our territory. We must make the two worlds work together and decompartmentalize them. We will also seek the expertise of specialized education because we have worked for years on differentiation with multidisciplinary teams. On the ground, there are areas that have already been practicing integration for years. What really interests us is that there are children with specific needs everywhere and that they are better and better diagnosed. On the other hand, the teachers do not always have training to follow (ADHD, dyslexia…). »
What to do for overwhelmed PMS?
“The PMS also play an important and indispensable role in the relationship between parents and schools. They had a lot more situations to deal with with the Covid than before. Children and adolescents are still suffering enormously from the consequences of the pandemic. »
A word on the reform of school time?
“This reform of daily rhythms will not be for this government. We launched the beginnings of the reflection. We have mandated the King Baudouin Foundation to see what is being done on the ground and how this reform can be improved… and how we could disseminate these good practices. We must also adapt to the reality of parents: which parent can still pick up their son at 3:30 p.m. at school?
You have to think with the local sports clubs, the extracurricular, the academy, the child… ”
Does the school need help at all levels?
“The school principals recognize that they had a very complicated back to school too. They have long complained of administrative overload. A working group is moving forward on this. We have an envelope of 41 million euros more for administrative support. However, they tell me that they do not see concretely on the ground that this translates into significant help. I am also aware that the first wish of the management teams is to redo educational work. »
What to do about the shortage?
“The scarcity phenomenon is complex, multifactorial and global. It’s not just financial. Flanders has better salary scales than us and despite everything, it lacks teachers. She is even more strongly affected than us. We are obviously working on initial training (from this year we are increasing training from 3 years to 4 years, we hope thereby also to reduce the dropout rate during the first years of practice) and continuous (we need training during career). Parents do not always realize that teachers train a lot, especially during school holidays, but also at weekends. For the moment, we still have problems of severe shortages in language teachers, professional practice teachers in qualifying…”
Parental verbal abuse training too?
“It’s something you hear from teachers. There is indeed training in conflict management. »
The arrival of a new type of teacher?
“We want to attract second career teachers. It also responds to a change in society which means that people no longer pursue a single career in a single field. It is not easy because these people arrive without seniority. So we made an exception to be able to attract modern language teachers. Seniority will be taken into account. We will therefore value experience up to 5 years of seniority. »
What to answer to the demonstrations of the teachers of this week?
“My firm and I have met with the unions on several occasions since the start of the school year, whether during our regular meetings or within the framework of the working groups set up to respond to their demands. Regarding class size, a first meeting has taken place and a second was planned for this week. »
And for the workload?
“Regarding the workload within the framework of the piloting plans, bilaterals took place before the holidays and a meeting will take place next week on beacon proposals. Exchanges also take place on the evaluation to develop the text. »
Finally, in terms of learning Dutch, the Minister should soon submit a note to the government so that learning Dutch, or German, is imposed in Wallonia as in Brussels from the third primary, from the back to school 2027-2028. “No comment for the moment on this subject” specifies the firm.
Sunday is not necessarily a time of rest for the Minister of Education. “I work a little indeed. Last Sunday, I was at the Party Congress. I participate a lot in local activities. I like meeting people, teachers and parents in the markets. »
Are they shouting at you?
“They always talk to me kindly about their problem, about the difficulties in the sector. This is normal, especially with the reforms that we are putting in place. »
A few hours with the family?
“I also give time to my family because you have to maintain a balance. I’m lucky to have grown children but I want to share a lot of things with them. But also to do some sport and go to the cinema, to the theater… Life has resumed. »
What is your current reading?
“I am reading Virginie Despentes “Dear Asshole”. A very interesting book… a bit of feminist reading. »
Exactly, should more girls be in coding classes?
“Attitudes are changing, but there is still a lot of work to be done with parents. We really need to attract young girls to science courses. »