Expatica news

Belgium ‘worst’ developed country for poor pupils

29 September 2005

BRUSSELS – An international study has shamed Belgium over its record on poor students, it was revealed on Thursday.

La Libre Belgique reported that, in an equality test for university education, Belgium came bottom out of 13 countries.

The Educational Policy Institute studied access to university in developed countries, looking at financial and democratic factors.

Researchers looked at the rate of participation in the university system for specific age groups, the rate of overall success and the equality index, which it calculated on the degree of over-representation of students coming from the best-off families.

“The result is disastrous for our education system,” said Jean-Paul Lambert, the rector at Saint-Louis University.

“Taking all the indicators together, Belgium is ranked 12 out of the 13 countries studied [in terms of democratic accessibility]. It’s even thirteenth out of the 13 for the single indicator of equality. Our education system is therefore the least democratic in the whole of the developed world.”

Lambert is calling on the government to act on the findings of the report and introduce greater funding for young people from poor families. He points out that in 1998 a legal proposal was introduced to increase grants to students described as “first generation” – those whose parents had never been to university.

However, he says the law was not finally introduced and that was a huge mistake by Belgian politicians.

“A notary or lawyer’s son has every chance of succeeding in law studies,” said Lambert. “He knows how to and he knows the path. Others must be helped.”

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news