School year in Flanders kicks off with new measures

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New measures will help parents spend less on their children’s education.

2 September 2008

FLANDERS -- New measures mark the start of a new school year in Flanders as one million students and 10,000 teachers in Flanders returned to school Monday morning.

About 210,000 kindergarteners, 400,000 primary school students, and 460,000 secondary school students started a new academic year Monday morning after two months of summer holidays.

New measures
The federal government is giving a school bonus of EUR 80 for kindergarteners and EUR 120 for children in primary school to help parents foot the bills for their children's education.

Schools are also handing out free school supplies for every child in Flanders.

The maximum amount that parents are expected to pay for school outings has also been reduced. School outings may not cost more than a total of  EUR 20 for kindergarteners and EUR 60 for students in primary schools.

This maximum cost system has drawn considerable criticism. Some schools complain they will be obliged to cut down on school outings because of the new regulation. Others say they will have to do away with the swimming classes. Critics also say the system will also have an effect on the creativity of the schools. The maximum cost system has not been imposed on secondary schools.

In most secondary schools, final-year students will be able to take the theoretical test for their driving licence at school for free.

For the first time ever, schools in Flanders are smoke free and smoking rooms for the teachers have also been eliminated.

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