Home » COMMENTS. Worst score ever for Flemish students: “Assassin for our prosperity and well-being”

COMMENTS. Worst score ever for Flemish students: “Assassin for our prosperity and well-being”

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Education Minister Ben Weyts (N-VA) is not discouraged by the results. “No one should make excuses or excuses for these results. Everyone must recognize that the reforms decided upon are necessary, even if they are sometimes painful and by definition slow,” he responds.

“This should not discourage us: on the contrary, it should encourage us to continue with the arsenal of reforms that we have been rolling out since 2019,” says Weyts on mathematics, the reform of teacher training and the introduction of the Flemish tests from next year. Even though all these measures will only produce tangible results within ten years, according to the minister.

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“assassin”

Walentina Cools, general director of the Education Association of Cities and Municipalities (OVSG), remains positive. She is convinced that our efforts in primary education, combined with the modernization of secondary education, will lead to better results in the long term. “The most important conditions for this are a solution to the teacher shortage and sufficient implementation time. The new final objectives in secondary education were not a textbook example, because they were only voted in July and then came into effect in September. Trust schools and give them the time and teachers to make the change happen.”

“If Flanders is prosperous and has strong social security, this is largely due to our productivity. The fact that our children are now mediocre in reading/science is a silent killer for prosperity and well-being. We cannot possibly talk too much about PISA,” writes economist Stijn Baert on X.

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“All the more poignant”

“The PISA results for Flanders are worse than ever,” Kristof De Witte, director of LEER (Leuven Economics of Education Research) also writes on X. “Given our previous research, not unexpected, but all the more poignant. This must absolutely be our lowest PISA score ever, we owe it to our youth and future to turn the tide.”

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Voka, the Flemish network of companies, notes that due to the declining quality of education, companies are “becoming increasingly active in training and further training young people themselves”. “Companies cannot afford failing education. More and deeper reform is the way forward,” is also stated on X.

“Economic consequences are enormous”

Education expert Dirk Van Damme endorses this. “The economic consequences are enormous and companies experience the quality erosion immediately. But other dimensions of social quality and well-being also deteriorate as the skills of young people deteriorate.”

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The PISA results confirm the trend of previous international studies. This is what Catholic Education Flanders says in a response. However, the education umbrella organization points out that it has already put many things in motion: new curricula are being rolled out and efforts for pedagogical guidance have been increased. “We hope to see the results of this during our next IDP administration (Catholic education’s own tests, ed.),” it said.

Catholic Education Flanders emphasizes that the umbrella organization has already addressed many issues. This frees up more time for mathematics and Dutch and the stronger students receive additional curriculum goals. The umbrella organization hopes that the results will be visible in the IDP tests. They are more fine-grained and respond more quickly to the ball, it sounds.

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Ahead: “downright shocking”

The figures indicate to the opposition party Vooruit that the quality of education “continues to decline dramatically”. “The fact that 23 percent of children cannot even extract a simple message from a text is downright shocking,” said party leader Hannelore Goeman. The Flemish government “plays with the talents” of schoolchildren.

For Goeman, strong education is the “best guarantee” of a job and a good life. “Unfortunately, the figures once again show that the quality of education continues to deteriorate dramatically,” said Goeman. “The fact that 23 percent of children cannot extract even a simple message from a text is downright shocking. That is nothing more or less than a threat to our prosperity. Of the future of our children,” said the group leader in the Flemish Parliament. Goeman also refers to the teacher shortage, lack of knowledge of Dutch or exams that are being abolished.

“The Flemish government plays with the talents of our children. They stand there and look at it. Lots of loose ideas, no strategy. We must be more ambitious. We must invest in the best education. Because that is the engine of progress,” the politician concludes. Vooruit itself has a plan ready for education, which also points to affordable childcare.

“15 years of N-VA policy,” Meyrem Almaci, Flemish Member of Parliament and ex-chairman of Groen, clearly points to X in one direction. “Flemish fifteen-year-olds score very poorly in Pisa research, a downward trend continues in Dutch, mathematics and science.”

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