Finding teaching internships is more difficult for Flemish students with headscarves

Flemish teacher training students who wear headscarves are increasingly failing to find internships. This is what newspapers De Standaard and Gazet van Antwerpen reported on Tuesday.

With the number of students in teacher training rising and the pool of students becoming more diverse, colleges are increasingly clashing with the ban on religious symbols in Flemish community schools. "In the past, we always found a spot for female students. Now we just can't offer some a placement," says Gert Naessens of Odisee University College's teacher training department.

"We are bumping up against the limits," agrees Sofie Landuyt, in charge of the course at the Arteveldehogeschool in Ghent. "Students are rejected purely because they wear a headscarf."

At the Karel de Grote Hogeschool in Antwerp and the Thomas More Hogeschool in Antwerp and Mechelen, the problem crops up as well. "There are girls who need more time for their studies because they cannot find internships. Others drop out," says Mohamed El Fadili, a lecturer at Thomas More. 

According to colleges, the current situation is untenable. On the one hand, the education sector is struggling with a teacher shortage, while on the other, the teacher corps barely reflects society.

"To me, it seems perfectly defensible that a school does not want teachers to wear ostentatious signs of religious belief" reacted Flemish Education minister Ben Weyts. "I fully support those schools. Candidate teachers who do not want to respect the school's choice apparently do have a higher calling than teaching."



#FlandersNewsService | A demonstration against the ban on wearing convictional signs in education in 2020 in Brussels. © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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