Home Schooling

Eight days after the start of the school year, 124 pupils “without school” will have to register at the available facilities

As every year, secondary school enrollments in the Walloon-Brussels Federation have made people unhappy. According to CIRI, the Inter-Network Enrollment Commission, 124 students are still on the waiting list today out of 50,218 who were in the process of enrolling in high school, or 0.2% of those students.

As usual, the situation is most striking in the Brussels region. Here is the exact breakdown:

  • 103 pupils for the Brussels capital region
  • 4 students in Walloon Brabant
  • 17 students in Wallonia.

Less than last year

The office of the Minister of Education, Caroline Désir, clarifies: “For comparison, 152 students were on the waiting list at the same time last year. So this year the situation is better.“.

These “out-of-schools” have not actually been accepted to one of the schools of their choice, but this does not mean that they do not have vacancies. For example, in the Brussels region there are still 1,400 places available for 103 students who are still on the waiting list. They no longer have a choice: they have to enroll in a school where there is space to fulfill the compulsory school attendance.

Before reaching this number, CIRI proceeded in two phases. On August 25, the commission first contacted all parents who made duplicate entries for their children. This means they had a place at their second choice school but were still waiting at their first choice school. If parents chose to remain on the waiting list, then they lost priority at the second choice school.

This Monday, after a week of classes, CIRI then evaluated the schools of the students who did not show up. The number of 124 students who are still on the waiting list should therefore not move and these students must now enroll in a school where there are still places available.

Obstacle course

If the number of families affected by this situation decreases from year to year, it remains very complicated for them. Frédéric and his wife chose four schools in the Brussels region whose educational project met their expectations for their daughter Ayana. However, they learn very quickly that he is on the waiting list for these four options.

The existing calculation formula penalizes us because we decided to move from Woluwe-Saint-Pierre to Wezembeek-Oppem a few years agolaments Frederic. It’s crazy that this choice ten years ago is punishing us for our children’s education“.

In institutions where the demand for enrollment exceeds the number of available places, places are decided on the basis of a composite index calculated on the basis of various criteria, including the distance between residence and secondary school, distance between residence and elementary school, or between primary school and secondary school.

Then, for Frédéric, what he calls the real obstacle course begins. “From October to August 30, we did everything. Daily phone calls to CIRI, e-mails, then registered letters to end the solicitor and mediator. It takes a lot of energy, the whole family mobilizes to watch the set“, explains the father.

She was crying and so was I

On the first day of school, her daughter is still first on the waiting list for their second choice school, but not enough for a place. So he stays at home. It was not until Friday, September 2 that the good news came. Don Bosco College contacts the family to announce: Ayana, 12, finally has her place at school.

My daughter didn’t show much during this long processFrédéric tells us but yesterday morning when we went to school with her and the teachers welcomed her, she was tired and so was I“.

The father still regrets it: “The system does not help us, does not accompany us. We had to fight for a place“.

A new decree that will take effect next year

Next year, the situation should improve even more. Some criteria taken into account in the composite index will actually change. This follows from the new decree on secondary school enrollment adopted last January.

Now there will be 8 criteria instead of 7, and their relative weight in the index will be adjusted slightly. The criterion of the distance between residence and primary school, which has been the subject of criticism by parents for years, appears to be significantly decreasing in favor of the distance between the desired secondary school and residence.

The rest of the procedure does not change much. However, the registration system will be implemented in a more decentralized manner. The Inter-Network Enrollment Commission will be replaced by the Enrollment Governance Commission (CoGI). Commission accompanied by ten Local Enrollment Offices (ILIs) in each school area to better reflect local realities. The rating of the new device is planned in four years, in 2026.

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