Home Schooling

Home education: how many children in Belgium and what controls?

Has the coronavirus epidemic and the significant fear it causes prompted many parents to take responsibility for their children’s home education to avoid the risk of contamination at school? The General Administration of Education is not yet able to supply the number of registrations for this formula for this year. On the other hand, she gave us the ones from the previous school years and explained what the controls were.

The countdown to the first school year in the 1st year of the reign of the Emperor Coronavirus has begun. In a few days, hundreds of thousands of pupils from the age of 5 (the new age of compulsory school attendance) will return to school, in real life and no longer through a screen or printed PDF documents like in the spring. distance learning has become the norm. However, some children will continue their schooling at home in September. Indeed, some parents, for various reasons, decide to take care of their child’s education themselves. It is home education, permitted and limited by law. Has the Covid-19 outbreak and the contamination concerns it causes prompted more parents to opt for this formula? This is the question that RTL INFO asked and addressed to the General Education Administration (AGE), which replied that the numbers are not yet available. Parents must submit a homeschooling statement by September 5th, but after that it will take us a full year to count and verify homeschoolers. In short, we are not ready to know whether there has been an extraordinary rush towards this form of education.

How many home school students in previous years?

AGE provided us with data for previous years. They are extremely weak. In the 2018-2019 school year, their parents educated 1,122 children at home. A marginal figure when we know that in the same year almost a million children (966,711) went to school in the Walloon-Brussels Federation (see below for details). However, this number has been rising in recent years.

Total number of home school students

2013 > 892
2014 > 885
2015 > 909
2016 > 920
2017 > 1044
2018 > 1122

It should also be noted that children covered by collective education structures such as “central jury” preparatory schools are also assimilated into home education. There are even fewer: 377 students in 2018.

Total number of students in three levels of education

Kindergarten: 138,214
Primary: 267,169
Secondary: 303,812

(Source: Walstat)

Secondary: 99,647
Primary: 99,846
Kindergarten: 58,023

(Source: Ibsa)

How do the authorities monitor children educated at home?

Letting parents take charge of their child’s education doesn’t mean letting them do anything. Many inspections are planned so that the child is at the same level as those who observe the teaching of the teachers at school. The General Inspection Service is responsible for the supervision of the legally established level of study. It is carried out at least in the year in which the child reaches the age of 8 and 10, although other checks may also be carried out.

In practice, parents receive a summons to check their level of study at least a month in advance. During this check-up, the child will take several written tests and may have to answer some oral questions. It is also a meeting with the parents, who then explain the way in which the child’s learning is organized.

Homeschooling also does not exempt a child from having to complete certificates of study like other children. Parents will need to prepare him well to take CEB at 12, CE1D at 14 and CE2D at 16.

Finally, the inspection service also verifies whether home education does not become a pretext for the indoctrination of extremist ideas. Parents cannot advocate “values ​​that are clearly incompatible with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”, says the law.

As you can understand, deciding to take care of your child’s education on your own is not an easy decision because it requires so much responsibility and effort.

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