New minimum targets for Flemish schools in effect from September 2023

Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts and education providers on Monday presented their framework agreement on the development of new attainment targets for Flemish schools. The nullified minimum targets in the second and third grades of secondary education will be "reduced and sobered down" and given a focus on Dutch, languages and mathematical sciences. The intention is also to immediately work on new attainment targets for the first grade of secondary and primary education.

The timing for schools to adapt to the new targets is tight. In March 2023, the minimum objectives for the second and third grades must be ready and from September onwards they will go into effect for he third grade (the two last, or fifth and sixth, years of secondary education, ed.).

Education minister Weyts and the Flemish education networks had to convene again after the Constitutional Court annulled the previously announced new attainment targets for the second and third secondary grades in June. The attainment targets are the minimum goals pupils have to achieve. Catholic Education Flanders and the Steiner School Federation filed a case with the Constitutional Court. The attainment targets were said to be too extensive and restrict the freedom of education. The Court agreed with them and provided for a transitional arrangement: the attainment targets must be revised by 2025.

According to the minister, the attainment targets do remain "ambitious". Schools are also encouraged to "go way above and beyond".

But the minister and education partners do not want to wait that long. They worked together over the past summer weeks to develop new minimum targets. First agreement: they will henceforth refer to "minimum targets" because the term "attainment targets" is "misleading" according to minister Weyts. "It looks like it is about a terminus, but that is only where it starts," Weyts said.

In terms of content, it was agreed that the development of the new attainment levels will start from the nullified attainment levels, but they will be "reduced and sobered down". Repetitions, superfluous details and examples, among others, will disappear. The 16 'key competences' will remain, but for the first time a clear priority will be given to three crucial competences: Dutch, languages and mathematical sciences (the 'STEM' subjects).

According to the minister, the attainment targets do remain "ambitious". Schools are also encouraged to "go way above and beyond".




Schools are also encouraged to "go way above and beyond", education minister Weyts said. © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

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