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Summer ends as students return to school

Published on 01/09/2005

1 September 2005

BRUSSELS — The Belgian school year officially started on Thursday, with students in Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders returning to the classroom after the summer holiday break.

However, the summer holidays ended for some international schools earlier this week, while other expat students will not be returning to school until next week.

Students at the British International School of Brussels and the British School of Brussels in Tervuren will not return to school until Monday next week.

However, students at St Johns International in Brussels returned to school on Monday 29 August, while the International School of Brussels started back on Tuesday.

An estimate for the total number of international students in Belgium is difficult to obtain because they are privately run and linked to various organisations.

However, some 1,400 students were enrolled with the International School of Brussels, while 900 have started with St Johns. An estimated 1,100 will start with the British School of Brussels in Tervuren.

Some 500 students returned to school at the Antwerp International School on 24 August, a week earlier than other students in Flanders.

Meanwhile, both primary and secondary students in Flanders returned to school on Thursday, the official 1 September start to the Belgian school year.

In Flanders, some 900,000 children returned to school, 700,000 of whom were enrolled in Catholic education. About 200,000 students attend public school education.

Some 125,000 teachers returned to work in Flanders as unions demanded more funding for education. Unions are urging for an increase in holiday pay and a reduction in work pressure.

Across the linguistic border, Wallonian Education Minister Marie Arena said, operating funding should increase by about 10 percent due to refinancing, but higher energy costs will eat up 2 percent of that.

The new school year will usher in new regulations across Belgium, such as the introduction of 30kmh speed limit zones around schools. However, many municipalities were not expected to be ready in time.

Also, a new law will come into force stipulating that a maximum of three children may be seated on the back seat of a car and that each of them must have their own seatbelt. Previous legislation allowed small children to share a seatbelt.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news