Elections 2024: Who do I vote for if I want to improve the education system?

In the run-up to the June elections, Belgium's political parties are staking out their positions on key issues. Today we look at their stance on education.

With Belgium's distinctive federal system and diverse linguistic communities, politics can be intricate to navigate, especially regarding crucial issues like education. 

Belgian parties exhibit diverse stances on education, reflecting varying ideologies and priorities. While some prioritise accessibility and equality in education, others advocate for autonomy and choice. 

Education unions on strike

In May, education unions in Flanders announced a series of strikes across the region in response to 70 proposals by a committee of experts on the professionalism of the teaching profession. 

Ben Weyts, the Flemish minister for Education from the N-VA party, spearheaded the effort, which educators have dismissed as "fantasies, ill-considered measures and recipes from the past". 

Changes include implementing a mandatory 38-hour work week that does not take into account the extra hours teachers often work when considering their pay. Teachers would also be paid according to the level of degree they hold.

Flemish interests

As a Flemish nationalist party, N-VA emphasises regional educational autonomy, prioritising Flemish identity and language and advocating for Dutch-language immersion programs. The party supports initiatives to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) education and promote entrepreneurship in schools. 

Similarly to N-VA, the far-right party Vlaams Belang stresses the Flemish identity and language as a mainstay of education. Their views on schooling are deeply rooted in nationalist and conservative ideologies that include teaching traditional values and enforcing assimilation for children from other cultures or countries.

Increased public funding

On the other side of the spectrum, the far-left party PVDA-PTB prioritises free, quality education as a fundamental right. It advocates for increased public funding for education, including free school supplies and transportation for students. It opposes privatisation in education and advocates for smaller class sizes.

With a focus on sustainability and social justice, the Flemish green party Groen supports a holistic and environmentally conscious education. They advocate for initiatives to integrate environmental education into the curriculum, promote outdoor learning and prioritise eco-friendly practices. Groen also emphasises inclusive education policies that cater to diverse learning needs.

Accessible education for all

The Francophone socialist party PS aims for accessible education for students from all socio-economic backgrounds. It advocates for increased public funding for schools and universities to reduce educational inequalities. The party supports measures such as subsidised textbooks, free school meals for disadvantaged students, and enhanced teacher training programmes.

The Flemish Christian democratic CD&V party emphasises values-based education and community involvement. It advocates for maintaining public education standards while supporting initiatives to promote parental involvement in schools. CD&V wants to enhance teacher quality, increase investment in early childhood education, and integrate digital skills into the curriculum.

In the run-up to the elections for the federal, regional and European parliaments on 9 June, Belga English explains how the parties in Belgium want to address today’s challenges. Each day we put the spotlight on one issue.


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