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New calendar for French-speaking schools starts on 29 August
Changes to the calendar for French-speaking schools come into effect on 29 August. The last Monday in August now becomes the first day of the new school year, reports Bruzz.
Previously, school for French-speaking pupils began on 1 September and ended on 30 June. The end of the school year will be the first Friday in July, which falls in 2023 on 7 July.
Authorities in French-speaking education have sought to shorten the summer holidays for quite some time now, citing expert testimony that the break is too long for children. To make up for the shorter summer, a week is added to both autumn and spring half-term holidays
This new schedule means that the school year consists of seven weeks of classes alternating with two weeks of holidays.
Dutch-speaking schools have no plans to make similar changes to their own calendars, citing more important issues such as the quality of education and the ongoing teacher shortage. Schools in the German-speaking community likewise have no plans to adjust their calendar.
Some have criticised the discrepancies that now exist between school calendars, saying it will complicate holidays for families who have children attending schools at different language communities, or make it more difficult to arrange holidays with friends and extended family members attending different schools.
Public transport companies make adjustments to timetables
Meanwhile, public transit companies STIB and TEC have already begun adjusting their timetables to meet the needs that arise with the new schedule.
Changes take into consideration new dates for the autumn holiday (24 October to 4 November), the Christmas holidays (26 December to 6 January), the spring holidays (20 February to 3 March) and the Easter holidays (1 to 12 May).
The ‘yellow’ timetable, which covers school days, will begin on 29 August when the French-speaking school year starts.
“On the weeks where Dutch-speaking pupils still have classes, extra lines will be deployed,” a STIB spokesperson told Bruzz.
“This will be done following large Dutch-speaking schools. If any adjustments are needed afterwards, we will take them into account.”
Wallonia’s TEC buses will run less frequently during the normal morning and evening rush hours during the new school holidays.
SNCB, however, says it plans to wait and assess the situation before making any changes.
“We will see if there are actually many changes in train use during these periods,” a spokesperson said.
“After the Christmas period, we will make an evaluation and we will possibly adjust the lines for the year 2023.”